International Rescue: The Next Phase

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #636 is a reply to message #635] Tue, 24 July 2012 15:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 5, 2068, 12:35 p.m. the bridge of the WNS Excelsior, in the North Sea

"Any sign of them on radar?" Captain Ellen Stewart asked her radar operator.

"Nae, sair. No' yet," came the answer. The bridge remained quiet for a few moments. All the Navy personnel were togged out for the cold, stormy swells that they were experiencing right now. The storm was fierce, and visibility was low.

"Sair!" the radar operator called. Captain Stewart hurried over to him. "I hae' a contact! Aye, 'tis th' Saucy Lady."

"We have audio contact again, Captain," the communications officer said. "They're pretty far off course."

"We're getting close to the gas rigs, aren't we, Morton?" the Captain asked her executive officer.

"Yes, sir, we are," he returned. "I hope we can get to them before...."

"Sir!" the sonar officer called, her face pale. Both the captain and the exec strode over to see what the sonar officer had to show them. A line of white blobs, six or seven of them, were standing between the Excelsior and the Saucy Lady.

"They're close to the surface, Cap'n, but I'd lay wager that those are more of the mines," the sonar operator said.

"Radar? Do you have a reading on this?" Captain Stewart called.

"Wait... aye, sair," he said. "Six, nae, se'en o' th' bloody things, jus' b'low th' surface. An' betwixt us an' th' Saucy Lady."

"Damn!" the captain swore softly. She and the exec drew over to the plotting table. "Transfer readings to the plotter. Both sonar and radar." Seven distinct white blobs appeared on the dark surface, along with two larger blobs, one blue representing the Excelsior and one red for the Saucy Lady. The blue approached the white ones at a considerable speed, while the red one moved slowly with the waves. And then off in the corner... another larger something appeared.

"Tha' new readin' is a gas drillin' platfarm, sair," the radar officer informed them.

"And both the Saucy Lady, with its mine, and those seven others, are heading right for it," Morton said. The exec and the captain exchanged a look.

"Communications! Update Saucy Lady on the new mines. We can't get to them until we disarm this group. Tell them about the gas rig, and then... put out a call for International Rescue. They're the only ones who can save those fishermen now."

Post by Tikatu on 06/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #637 is a reply to message #636] Tue, 24 July 2012 15:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 6, 2068; 1 a.m.; Thunderbird 5

Callie continued monitoring the transmissions between the fishing vessel and the WNS Excelsior when she finally heard the call she had waited for. "World Navy Ship Excelsior calling International Rescue. Do you copy, International Rescue? This is an emergency."

She yelled, "John, this is it!"

John rushed to the control console. "Are they calling us?"

"The Navy ship Excelsior is. You want to take this?"

"You take it for now. If it's too much, I'll jump in, okay?" He smiled at her encouragingly.

"F-A-B, John." Callie spoke into the microphone. "This is International Rescue, Excelsior. Go ahead."

The communications officer spoke gravely. "The fishing vessel Saucy Lady has accidentally caught a live mine in its net. There are seven other loose mines between us and the trawler. A bad storm in the area is pushing both the ship and the mines toward a gas-drilling platform. We are trying to deal with the mines, but we can't reach the trawler in time. Can you assist?"

Callie said, "Okay, Excelsior, we'll send help as quickly as possible."

"Thank you, International Rescue. Excelsior out." When the transmission stopped, the communications officer looked at Captain Stewart. "Help is on the way, sir."

"Good. I just hope the Thunderbirds can get to that ship before it's too late."

Back in Thunderbird Five, Callie noticed that John had been scribbling down notes as she was talking with the Excelsior. He motioned her away from the microphone. "I'll take it from here, Callie. First, I'm going to let Virgil know we got the call. That way he can put things in motion." John moved over to the mike with an easy, confident stride. "Then I'll hail the trawler and find out some more details."

He glanced at her. "Listen, Callie. Listen and learn." He flicked a switch. "Thunderbird Five to base. Come in, base."

******Same date, 10 minutes later; Tracy Villa Lounge******

Virgil saw John's portrait eyes flash. Pressing a button to activate the radio, he said, "Come in, Thunderbird 5."

"Vee, we just got a call from the WNS Excelsior. They were sent out to help that trawler that got tangled up with the mine. Seems that a number of mines came up with that one and Excelsior can't reach the trawler, which is headed for one of the gas rigs out there."

"Okay, Jay. Can you get us more details?" Virgil asked, pressing the button to send out the emergency signal.

"Just about to do that, base. Thunderbird Five out."

John turned to Callie momentarily as he began looking for a frequency to reach the Saucy Lady. "Did you notice that I used 'Vee' when I was speaking to him? No names. Right now we're using first initials as code name. You would be Cee, which may be a problem."

"Because of Christopher," she realized. "Hmm... What if I used my middle name, Louise?"

"Call you El? or Cee El? Oh, my. That's rather funny. Seal. I can see we're going to have to come up with a different system. I'll bring it up to Scott when this rescue is over." He turned back to the microphone. "International Rescue calling Saucy Lady. Come in, Saucy Lady, over."

******Monday, March 5, 2068; 1:15 p.m.; aboard the Saucy Lady******

The crew of the Saucy Lady were all below as the trawler itself weathered the storm.

The young man at the radio heard a message he didn't expect. "I can't believe it!"

"What is it?" asked the captain.

"It's International Rescue! They're asking us to respond!"

"I'll take the call." He took the speaker and said, "International Rescue, this is Captain James Bowers of the Saucy Lady. How did you know we needed help?"

"Greetings, Captain Bowers. The Excelsior radioed us with your situation and asked us to assist. What is your current status?" John said crisply.

"The mine we picked up in our nets is now bobbing off our stern. Its chain got wrapped around our propeller and stopped us dead in the water," Bowers told him. "Not that we're not moving. This storm is pushing us along. The swells are very high and I have all my men below decks."

"Are there any injuries?"

"Nothing major so far. Mostly frostbite and some hypothermia."

"What's your ship's complement?"

"Our complement stands at 12." Bowers was heartened by the professional-sounding voice coming out of the speakers.

"Has any attempt been made to cut the mine free?"

"Yes, we tried. But between the storm and the thickness of the chain, we were unable to cut it loose. I wasn't going to risk losing a man overboard in this gale."

John nodded, unseen by Bowers. "Good thinking, Captain. Give me your current position. We will launch within the next fifteen minutes."

"Can you give us a ETA? We're getting close to the gas rigs."

John consulted a computer screen. "Our first craft should be there within the hour. Our main rescue craft, however, takes a little longer. Hang in there, Captain. There's hope yet."

Bowers sighed with relief. "Thank you. International Rescue. We'll be looking for you."

"We'll be there, Captain. International Rescue out."

******Tuesday, March 6, 1:25 a.m.; Thunderbird 5******

Callie asked, "John, do you think we can help them in time?"

John took in a deep breath and expelled it through his nose. "As long as they stay below, they should be safe enough from the storm. It's the rigs that worry me." He looked Callie in the eye. "It will be a near thing, I'll tell you that." He turned back to the microphone. "Now to update brother Virgil on the particulars."

Callie turned away and whispered, "I hope they can be saved in time." She looked at John and said, "Is there anything I can do at this point?"

"Not really, just continue to listen and learn. We'll keep monitoring the frequency and I may have to put out a hail to the closest gas rigs as well. Let them know what's going on," John told her. "We may need one as a staging platform." He tuned in the frequency that put him in touch with base while Callie stood in the background listening and learning about this most important of jobs within International Rescue.

Post by Tikatu and TracyFan4Ever on 07/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #638 is a reply to message #637] Tue, 24 July 2012 15:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 6, 2068, 1:25 a.m. Tracy Villa lounge.

The emergency signal had sounded through the Villa and the Cliff House, waking the denizens and summoning them to the lounge. Once they were all gathered, Virgil looked over their faces, some sleepy, some eager, some concerned. Dominic and Lisa put their heads together quietly; Lisa nodding at some question that Dominic asked.

"Okay, everyone, listen up. We've gotten a call from a World Navy vessel in the North Sea, off the northeastern coast of Scotland. They were dispatched to aid a fishing trawler that pulled a live mine up in its nets. The mine's chain is wrapped around the trawler's propellers and it's dead in the water. However, pulling up one seems to have loosened some others and the Navy ship can't reach the trawler as there are several more mines blocking their way. On top of all this, there's foul weather and the fishing boat is headed for the gas drilling rigs out there."

He took a breath. "We'll need Thunderbird Four with Gordon and Brandon. You, too, Tin-Tin; the seas are such that we'll need two divers and a hand on Thunderbird Four's helm. I haven't gotten a count of how many men are on the fishing trawler, but I think that hypothermia will be a problem and Thunderbird Two's sickbay holds six at the most. So, Gordon, put Seven into pod four as well. Dom and Nikki, you'll go as medics. Alan, you're to take Thunderbird One to the Danger Zone; set up Mobile Control on one of the rigs."

"F-A-B," Gordon said as he tapped Tin-Tin and Brandon on the shoulder and they left to move the equipment around.

Alan groaned good-naturedly. "Not another drilling rig!"

"Yes. And see to it you don't lose Thunderbird One like you nearly did last time!" Virgil responded with a smile. "Any questions?"

"Uh, excuse me, Virgil," Nikki said hesitantly. "I haven't had any experience using the equipment in Thunderbird Seven yet."

"And I've barely scratched the surface there, so to speak," Dominic added, nodding his head. "Plus, I can't fly the thing if that's needed. I can fly, but I've not been trained on Seven."

Virgil thought for a moment, and then looked at Alan. "Okay. Alan, use a flight plan that will take you over the States instead of over Asia and stop in New York to pick up Mom. We'll make sure she's waiting for you at JFK."

"What about Scott?" Alan asked, poised to enter Thunderbird One's hangar.

"What about him? He's got work to do at corporate and someone should stay close by in case something comes up with Dad. He stays in New York. Now, get going!"

"F-A-B!" Alan called as he pressed the buttons that would take him to his older brother's Thunderbird. "I'd like to be a fly on the wall when you try to convince him to stay put, Virge," he muttered as he crossed the telescoping catwalk to Thunderbird One's cockpit.

"Okay. Does everyone have their orders?" There were nods all around, but Christopher put up a hand.

"You haven't said who is flying Thunderbird Two."

"I am, and you might as well come along to see how it's done," Virgil replied. "Plus we could probably use an extra pair of hands on the winch." He looked over at the engineer. "Brains, you have the desk. Get the information we will need from John when he comes back on and relay it to us en route."

"F-A-B, Virgil. But you're the one who will have to deal with notifying Scott and Dianne. I'm not taking the heat for that!" Brains answered. Virgil grinned.

"Don't worry. I'll be the bad guy there. Okay, people! Thunderbirds are go!"

The lounge quickly emptied of all but Kyrano, Lisa, and Kat.

"Do you mind if I stay and listen?" Kat asked. "I know I'm not much help right now...."

"I don't mind at all, Kat. In fact, I'm glad for the company," Brains replied, sitting down behind Jeff's desk. Funny how I still think of it as his, even though he's not here, he mused.

"I will brew some coffee and tea," Kyrano said as he swept out of the room.

"Oh! And I'd better head over to Dominic's apartment to keep an eye on Joshua!" Lisa said suddenly, hurrying from the lounge.

Just then, John's portrait began to beep for attention.

"Thunderbird Five to base."

"This is base. Go ahead, Thunderbird Five."

"Hi, R&D. Vee gone with the crew?" John asked.

"Yes, Jay. He's in Two and Ay's in One. Gee is taking Four, and Ay will pick up Doc on the way to the Danger Zone to man Seven. Bee, Cee, Dee, Tee, and En are along for the ride. Can I have the details?"

John relayed the details from Captain Bowers and then added, "We're going to have to do something about the Cee in Two because we also have a Cee in Five."

"And a Cee here at base most of the time as well. I will think about it," Brains said.

"F-A-B. I'm signing off with you and will contact Ay and Vee on tricircuit. Good luck, base."

"F-A-B, Thunderbird Five, and thanks." John's portrait cut off.

"Now, what do we do?" Kat asked.

"Now? Now we wait."

Post by Tikatu on 07/08/2004

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[Updated on: Wed, 25 July 2012 16:20]

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #639 is a reply to message #638] Tue, 24 July 2012 15:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday 5th March 2068, 2:00 p.m. In the North Sea

The crew of the Saucy Lady huddled miserably below decks. They were unbearably cold; even with their oilskins and thermal undergarments the cold seemed to seep into their very bones.

They had managed, very precariously, to get to the galley to make some hot drinks. Now they had gathered, aware that International Rescue was on its way. Some of the men began muttering prayers under their breath. Others just sat silent, immersed in their own private thoughts. One younger man began to sing part of a hymn.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

He finished the first verse and would have continued, but looking around at his companions, hastily coughed, and was silent. Suddenly the youngest of the men stood up, rocking slightly with the rolling of the boat.

"We are all going to die!" he almost screamed to the rest of the men. "I must do something! I can't wait here for it to happen!"

"Don't be a fool!" Captain Bowers shouted. "Sit back down here! We are safer here than on deck."

But the young man turned and lunged for the stairs leading to the deck. Several of the men tried to grab him, but it was difficult just trying to stand let alone moving quickly to try and stop him.

He began scrambling up the steps towards the deck. None of the rest of the crew was entirely sure what happened next, but a large wave crashed over the deck and swirled around the top of the stairs. The young man was flung backwards down the stairs to fall in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

"What do we do, Skipper?" one of the men asked. "We really shouldn't move him, but we can't leave him lying here."

Very, very gently they placed a board underneath him. Staggering backwards and forwards, they managed to carefully move him away from the stairwell and into the drier part below decks where they had been seated.

"Looks pretty serious," one of them remarked. They piled rugs and blankets on him to try and keep him as warm as possible.

"Well, I hope that International Rescue has medics aboard, because this fellow is going to need some treatment and fast," observed Captain Bowers.

Post by Tawnyangel22 on 08/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #640 is a reply to message #639] Tue, 24 July 2012 15:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Nikki felt butterflies in her stomach as Thunderbird 2 rose off of its platform. This would be her first mission and she didn't want to screw it up. She looked at the new friends who would be accompanying her on the rescue. Some of them looked nervous, whilst with some of the others; she couldn't tell how they were feeling.

Dominic looked beside him and saw the nervousness on Nikki's face. He smiled reassuringly to her. "Hey Nik. I'm sure that you'll do well on this mission."

"I hope you're right. I'm too used to being stuck in the hospital. This is all new to me. Going out on major rescues."

"You'll get used to being out there. And after you get through the training, you'll be as good as..."

"The Tracys?" Nikki finished. Some of her nervousness had dissipated during the conversation. She continued, "You're quite lucky. You've been on a rescue already."

"Yeah, but even so, I'm still a bit nervous." Dominic put his hand on Nikki's shoulder. "Don't worry. Dianne will be there with us every step of the way. Plus once you get to work, your mind will be solely on the job. You'll have no time to feel nervous."

Nikki smiled. "I've heard that line before. A group of us were told that by a senior nurse on our first day. I've also used that comforting line on new nurses."

"And it worked, right?"

"Yes, it worked and it's working now," Nikki answered.

"Glad to hear it." Dominic smiled before he turned to face towards the front.

"Thanks, Dominic."

"No problem," Dominic replied.

Post by Nikki-Browneyes11 on 08/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #641 is a reply to message #640] Tue, 24 July 2012 15:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 5th, 2068, 9:23 a.m. JFK Heliport VIP waiting area, New York City

Dianne stood before the tall windows that looked out on the tarmac, looking but not seeing. Her mind was going over the rushed half-hour or so that had just passed.

"Vee! I've got to go!" Scott had shouted angrily into his telecomm as he came into the dining room. Dianne had just sat down with the children for breakfast and the denizens of the table were startled to hear him arguing with his brother. He looked up at her sharply.

"Where's your telecomm?" he asked angrily.

"In my room. I've just showered and hadn't...." she replied but before she could finish her sentence he had whipped his off and thrust it at her.

"Here! Virgil wants to talk to you!"

She took the telecomm with a look of concern then glanced down at the screen where Virgil, his face also red with anger, looked back at her.

"Doc, there's a rescue going down in the North Sea and we need you there. Ay is on his way to pick you up at JFK heliport. He'll be there within a half hour."

"What!" she cried. "That barely gives me time to get dressed, never mind make it to JFK in time! And what about... the boss?"

"You can make it if you try, Doc. Ay will wait for you for ten minutes but no more. And Ess will be on call there." Virgil returned. "I'm already launched myself and I have Dee, En, and Seven with me. You know that En knows nothing about Seven and Dee barely knows anything. We need you, Doc."

Dianne sighed resignedly. "Okay, Vee. I'm on my way. Tell Ay I'll be there."

Virgil finally smiled a little. "F-A-B, Doc. I'll see you in the North Sea. Thunderbird Two out."

Dianne got up from the table. "Kyrano? Please fix me something that I can take along with me on the way to JFK. Kids, behave and obey Grandma. Scott, I'll need Bernie." She headed for her bedroom when Scott's voice stopped her.

"I'm going, too. Alan can stay here."

She rounded on him. "Scott, while your father's out of commission, and you're here in New York, Virgil is in charge. Now, Ah know you don't like the idea of Alan handling One, but for now, it's got to be." She stepped over to him. "Ah'd rathah not be goin' at all. But Ah have to; live are dependin' on me. Ah need someone here with yoah fathah that Ah can depend on. An' he needs someone at corporate that HE can depend on. So, please, stay here an' look aftah things. Ah'll be back aftah the rescue."

Scott glared at her all the time she spoke until she spoke of Jeff's need for someone he could depend upon. Then he sighed and looked down.

"Okay. I'll get Bernie. Are you going out in uniform?"

"Yes. My uniform is new enough not to cause comment... yet. And we both know that Bernie is trustworthy; your father wouldn't have made him an agent if he weren't."

Scott snorted a laugh. "You're right about that." He looked at his watch. "You'd better move along. Time's a' wasting."

Dianne smiled and disappeared into her room.

The ride out to the airport with Bernie was wild and crazy but he was given clearance to drop her off right in front of the VIP lounge, out on tarmac. She was very happy that Kyrano had put her coffee in a spill-proof container. The VIP lounge had been cleared, much to the grumbling of several executives who were waiting for their flights. They grumbled, that is, until they learned that a Thunderbird was on the way. Now she stood, wearing her full, new uniform, visor and hat in place, her medical duffel over her shoulder, sipping her coffee and munching on a bagel filled with egg and cheese. She looked up as she heard the muted sounds of Thunderbird One descending to the tarmac.

"Looks like your ride is here, ma'am," said the heliport manager.

"Yes, it is. Thank you very much for your cooperation," she returned, smiling, as he held open the door for her. She scurried across the asphalt, and, handing up her duffel first, hauled herself up into Thunderbird One's cockpit.

"Good morning, Mom," Alan said cheerfully as she settled herself into the small passenger seat and buckled in.

"Good morning, son," she replied, pulling out the rest of her bagel and coffee as he lifted off.

"That smells good!" Alan said. "Got any for me?"

"As a matter of fact, yes, I do. Kyrano packed a bagel and coffee for you, too." She pulled out the travel mug and the foil-wrapped package and handed them up. "Now, what's the deal with this rescue?"

Alan sipped his coffee, and around a bite of bagel, began to brief her on the unfolding drama in the North Sea.

Post by Tikatu on 09/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #642 is a reply to message #641] Tue, 24 July 2012 16:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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North Sea, Highland Natural Gas Rig 3 (NGrig3), Operations Room.

Offshore Installation Manager Bryan Campbell looked out at the storm as it proceeded to build in strength and ferocity. Turning to his Radio Operator he voiced his concerns

"I don't like it, Stan; this is going to be rough one. I want all crew on Emergency standby. This rig has got to be secure if those waves are going to reach the height and strength that I think they will."

"Aye, sair, I've already alerted the crew and the drilling rig has been secured, I dinna see what else kin be done at..." He was suddenly interrupted by the outside radio signal.

"NG Rig 3, G' ahead"

"Highland Rig 3, this is International Rescue calling. We have been alerted by the World Navy ship Excelsior that the trawler Saucy Lady has pulled up a mine and has been rendered inoperable. She is currently drifting towards your position. The mine is tangled in her propeller and the Navy are unable to reach her. More mines have been freed and are floating between the Excelsior and the trawler. We are sending help and will need the cooperation of the rigs in the area, but particularly yours."

Stan and Bryan immediately knew what this meant. "International Rescue, we read you loud n' clear. All emergency procedures are in place. You have access t' whatever ya' need."

"Thank you rig 3. We'll be in contact again shortly."

Stan sat back and looked at his boss. "Well, what d' ya make o' that then? International Rescue!"

Bryan was more concerned about the mines. "If that damn trawler hits this rig, we could all be blown to bits. Those mines are over 100 years old: there's no telling what damage they could cause."

Stan merely looked at him. Bryan may have a Scot's name, but his English accent was unmistakable and so was his tendency to be overwrought!

"Now, Bryan, listen t' me. That wee boat may no' even hit. The Navy and International Rescue will do everything t' prevent it. We just have t' work wi' them."

Bryan took a deep breath and sighed. "We will, Stan, that you can count on."

Up in TB5, John turned to Callie "Well, now that the closest rig has been notified, they'll contact the ones nearest to them. We're going to need landing pads and with that sea being so rough I doubt if Vee can drop Pod 4 in the water. I sure hope those mines don't blow."

Callie returned his worried look. Their unspoken words echoed the thoughts of disaster if those mines blew.

Below deck, Saucy Lady.

The crew continued to huddle together, as Mother Nature unleashed her worst above decks. The howling winds and treacherous waves pounded the fishing vessel over and over, tossing her every way possible. The men below were all scared; they all knew the risk of dying out on these waters, but it didn't make it any easier to accept.

Captain Bowers walked over to First Mate Ian Drummond. "The temperature outside is dropping. We're going to have to try to prevent 'icing up'. If we dinna try, we're going t' g' down fur sure."

Ian swallowed hard and nodded. He knew that if the steady build up of ice on the superstructures was an all too present danger out on the North Sea and it would mean capsizing was inevitable.

Although improved de-icing components had been installed on all fishing trawlers, the fact that their boat was now inoperable mean that the Dunlop De-icier had probably quit working too.

"Aye, sair, I'll make m' way t' the engine room. If the heating elements on the Dunlop pads are broke, we're gonna t' ave t' break ice off manually."

"I know, lad, I know."

Ian gave his skipper one last lingering look before turning and making his way to the engine room. The Saucy Lady continued to roll and pitch, the sound of the relentless ocean pounding on the vessel. Captain Bowers turned to his men. "Right, crew, Ian has gone t' check the Dunlop heating system. We all know what kin happen if it's no' working. I want you all t' know, that no' matter what, we are no' gonna die out here! I refuse t' let any man think that! We're a crew and we're gonna make it! D' ye all understand!"

His voice was so authoritative that every man on board had no choice but to say "Aye!" even if they thought otherwise. They all knew their Captain was doing what he needed to do.

Ian made it to the engine room, and his worst fears were confirmed. The heating elements were not working. The ice had started to build up above decks. "Damn!" he muttered angrily, as he made his way back to the Captain. Passing a window, he caught a glimpse of a gas rig, very close to them, as the boat pitched forward. He hurried back to where James Bowers was standing.

"Heating elements are no' working, and there's worse..." James shot him a look of disbelief.


"Aye, we're veering towards a gas rig. If that mine we're towing makes contact..." Ian didn't need to finish his sentence. James Bowers knew what it meant for him and his crew.

Post by FrankieCTB2 on 09/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #644 is a reply to message #642] Tue, 24 July 2012 16:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 5, 2068, 2:45 p.m. local time, Highland NGRig3, The North Sea.

Alan whistled.

The flight from New York to the gas rigs of the North Sea took a total of fifteen minutes, just long enough for him to finish his coffee and bagel and to update Dianne on the situation. Now he was flying over the rig in question, trying to figure out what to do when the rest of the equipment showed up.

"There's the Saucy Lady! And I think I see the Excelsior as well!" he exclaimed as they passed overhead. Dianne looked at his monitor; all she saw from this height was a vaguely boat shaped white blob bouncing up and down.

"Man, these swells are something else!" he exclaimed again. "There's no way that Virgil's gonna be able to put the pod down on the surface. It's just too rough."

"Where else is he going to put it?" Dianne asked, peering over his shoulder again. "It doesn't look like that rig is going to be big enough for Thunderbird One, never mind adding Thunderbird Two!"

"I know. Let me talk to the guys here at Rig 3 and see what we can do," Alan said. He turned on his wireless connection. "Highland Rig 3, this is International Rescue Thunderbird One calling. Come in, NGRig3."

A Scot's accented voice replied, "NGRig3 here, g'ahead Thunderbird One. My, but ye lads're fast!"

Alan chuckled. "I'm afraid I'm only the advance party. The rest of the heavy equipment is a good hour behind me. I'm trying to get a feel for the situation. Now, I plan on landing on your rig to set up my equipment, but our other vessel, which is a whole lot bigger, will need a place to land, too. Are any of the other rigs in the vicinity bigger than yours?"

"None 'r big enow fer a runway, if tha's wha' yer askin'," the voice told Alan.

"Not a problem. We just need helipad space, not runway," Alan replied.

"Then ye'll fin' Rig5'll hae th' space ye need, lad."

"Many thanks. Can you contact Rig5 for me? I need to drop off a colleague who'll be needed on our other vessel."

"Aye, that'll be nae problem." There was silence for a few minutes then the voice returned. "Rig 5 reports they're ready fer yer colleague. I'll gi' ye th' coordinates." The upload took but a few seconds and Alan, after running it through the GPS, entered the coordinates in his directional computer.

"Thanks again, Rig 3. I'll return momentarily. Thunderbird One out."

Dianne shrugged on her jacket again and zipped it up, resettling her hat and visor on her head and face.

"Seems I've been doing a lot of this lately," she commented. "Jumping in and out of Thunderbird One...."

Alan laughed. "Well, at least this time I can land before you have to jump. Not like I understand things were in New Hampshire."

"Right," Dianne replied, her mood suddenly somber. Then she reached up and kissed Alan on the cheek. "Love you, kiddo. See you again soon."

"F-A-B, Mom," he said, smiling softly. "Highland Gas Rig 5, this is International Rescue Thunderbird One, requesting permission to land. One passenger disembarking."

"This is NGRig5, Thunderbird One. Permission granted and welcome. We'll take good care of your colleague."

Alan touched down lightly cutting back on the VTOLs, and Dianne climbed out using the rope ladder, and then ran for the lowest door in the superstructure, slipping a bit on the icy tarmac. Alan watched her go and then lifted off again, heading for Rig 3 to wait for Thunderbird Two's arrival.

Post by Tikatu on 10/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #645 is a reply to message #644] Tue, 24 July 2012 16:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 5th, Mt. Sinai Hospital, NY 11:00 a.m.

Scott Tracy was not in a good mood. All the way from the penthouse, he had been replaying over and over the conversation he'd had earlier with Virgil. Conversation, hell! he thought to himself. Part of him understood why Virgil made the decisions he'd made, but the other part knew HE should be out there as Field Commander, not Alan! The conversation had turned into a full-scale argument, one that he had lost. Damn! Now I have to explain this to Dad.

He made his way through the never-ending hospital corridors to his father's room. He peered through the window before entering and saw his three younger siblings, all sitting on Jeff's bed, all talking at once, and Grandma smiling, seated in a nearby chair. Jeff was smiling, too, and taking all the commotion in stride. Scott actually allowed himself a smile and pushed open the door.

"Well, is this a private party, or can anyone be invited?"

"Oh, Scott! That is such a lame line!" Cherie replied as she hopped off the bed and came around to give her big brother a hug.

"Well, I was beginning to wonder where you'd gotten to," Emily said as she too gave her eldest grandson a warm welcome. Scott looked over at his father as he hugged his grandmother.

Jeff's eyes smiled as he simply said, "Son."

"Hey, Dad, how you holding up with these monkeys jumping all over you?" The two remaining 'monkeys' giggled and also hopped off the bed.

"They keep me busy, that's for sure!" laughed Jeff. One look into his son's eyes told Jeff that Scott had something on his mind and needed to talk to him.

"Mother, why don't you take these poor hungry children and find them some lunch?"

Emily took the hint immediately and ushered her charges out of the room. "Bye Dad! See ya later!" the chorus echoed as they departed.

"Now, son, spit it out. What is it?" Jeff wasted no time getting to the point. He was still be weak in body, but his mind was very much tuned in to everything around him.

Scott took a deep breath. "Dad, the boys are out on a rescue. John got a call from the World Navy..."

Scott proceeded to give all the details to his father, including the fact that Dianne had been picked up and was also on the rescue. It became very apparent to Jeff that Scott was not happy about Virgil's decisions.

"...And I can't believe he told me 'NO'! He's never once told me 'NO' where a rescue was concerned!" Scott was now pacing back and forth across the room. Jeff watched. "I told him Alan should stay here, and I should be out there with Mobile Control... but no, HE had to have things HIS way..."

Scott's voice was becoming louder and Jeff finally had to interrupt. "SCOTT! Son, I know you're upset, but Virgil made the call. He's in command back at base, and from what I can see, he did what he had to, and you know he was right. Alan will do fine, and so will the others." He smiled sympathetically at Scott, and softly added, "Dianne was right, too, son. I need someone here I can depend on...I need YOU."

Scott looked defeated. "I know you do, Dad, but I just hate not being there." Scott resigned himself to the fact that he had no choice, no matter how much he complained, and finally sat down in a chair.

Jeff sighed, and moved uncomfortably to a better position. Scott realized his father was still in a lot of pain. "You need me to get anything, Dad?"

"No, thank you, son." Jeff winced as he settled back down onto the pillow. "I know I'm healing if I can feel the pain. I'd just rather be feeling it back at the island, is all."

"Do you know when they'll be letting you come home?"

"No, not yet. Though if your mother has anything to do with it, it'll be sooner rather than later!" That remark actually made Scott chuckle. "So, how are the new recruits settling in? I want all the details Scott... everything." Scott sat back and filled his father in on the entire goings on back home. After hearing all about the recruits, Jeff became silent and withdrawn.

Scott started to worry. "Dad? What is it?"

Hearing about the new pilots and medics suddenly triggered a memory of his pilot, Elise. He couldn't remember if he'd asked about her, or if anyone had told him if she'd survived the accident. He was certain Dianne would have said something, yet he couldn't remember.

"Scott, what happened to Elise? My pilot? I don't one said..."

"Dad, calm down, it's okay. Elise survived; she had a few broken bones, but she got out of the crash in better shape than you! So don't worry." The relief on his father's face was very visible, and Scott took this opportunity to bring up the subject of Elise joining IR. "Dad?"

"Yes, Scott?"

"We thought it best to bring Elise out to the island while she recovered. Ned Cook had got to her while she was here, and we were all concerned about other reporters sticking their noses in. Mom suggested it, and well, we went along with it."

Jeff sensed something more was coming and prompted Scott. "Go on, son."

"The thing is, since she's been back at base, Virgil is worried she's become a security risk. She's already seen TB3 launch and is aware that we're IR. Dad, Elise thinks she's going home in a couple of weeks, and if the likes of Ned Cook get wind of where she's been, they'll never leave her alone."

"Scott, it can't be helped that Elise has seen and heard more than we would like her to, but I trust her to keep silent."

Scott fidgeted slightly. "Well, sir, I was hoping you would consider taking her on board with IR as a pilot. She's a damned good one, and we sure could use another one. As it is, Virgil's had to go out on this rescue and leave Brains at your desk."

Jeff smiled at the vision he had of Brains seated at his desk. "You really think highly of her, don't you, Scott?"

"Yes, sir, I trained her. I've seen what she's capable of, and frankly, I know she'll accept."

Once she calms down enough to stop shouting at me, he thought. Elise may be a great pilot, but Scott had never forgotten the fiery temper she could bring forth at a moment's notice!

Jeff remained silent, looking at his eldest thoughtfully. He absolutely trusted his son's judgment and normally wouldn't question it, but this time he wasn't sure. He didn't know Elise well enough to just take her in and let her fly IR aircraft.

"Scott, I don't...."

Scott cut him off before he was finished. "Dad, I know, but she's already back at base, knows who we are, and we need another pilot. You've said it yourself many times that we needed at least two more. Well, we have C.J., so why not Elise?"

Jeff conceded. "All right, when I get back home, you and I will talk to her, and I will offer her the position. But Scott, she has to be 100 percent sure, or we're going to have a difficult situation on our hands."

"Yes, sir, I understand."

"Now, get me John on the comm-link. I want to know how this rescue is going and where my wife is!" Scott smiled and called his brother.

Post by FrankieCTB2 on 10/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #646 is a reply to message #645] Tue, 24 July 2012 16:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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As Thunderbird Two sped towards the North Sea, Brandon sat quietly. He felt the familiar rush of adrenalin, the one he got when he was preparing for one of his extreme sports. Looking down at his hands, he noticed that they were shaking.

Man, McCain, get a grip. It's not like this is your first rescue.

"Are you okay, Brandon?" a soft voice asked him. Brandon looked up, connecting with Nikki's brown eyes and noticing her concern.

"Yeah Nikki, I'm okay" he said, a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth, "just a little nervous is all."

"I know you are, Brandon, we all are. But, like Dom told me, stay focused and you'll do fine." Nikki put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Brandon replied. He started to say something else, but Thunderbird Two began shaking as it entered the storm.

"Is everyone okay?" Virgil asked, keeping his eyes focused on the controls. When they all answered, Virgil told them to stay seated until they reached the danger zone.

"What's our ETA, Virgil?" Dominic asked, looking at Nikki then over at Brandon.

"ETA's one hour, fifteen minutes," Virgil answered quickly, still keeping his eyes on the instruments. Dom nodded his thanks and grew quiet as he thought about what they would be getting into.

Across from him, Brandon too was deep in thought, trying to think ahead to what the rescue would bring and recalling what his former WASP commander, John Shore, said to him and a group of graduates as they readied themselves for their new duties.

"Remember, you are responsible for whatever decisions you make in the field. Good or bad, see it through. Always see it through 'til the end."

I will, sir, I will do you proud.

As they flew along, Gordon became impatient. He needed to be active but that was difficult to do at the moment. Finally he gave Brandon a nudge in the side, startling him out of a light doze.

"For cryin' out loud, Gordon," Brandon said grouchily, "Why'd you wake me up?"

Gordon's killer smile spread across his handsome face. "I thought you'd like to help me prep Thunderbird Four. We need her in top shape for the rescue."

Brandon's eyes lit up at this. "Why didn't you say so?" Brandon stood up, following Gordon down to the hold.

The two men began looking over Thunderbird Four. Gordon started the pre-check, showing Brandon what needed to be done and, occasionally, letting him get some hands on experience with the mini-sub. As they checked the craft out, readying it for the mission ahead, Brandon brought up a legitimate question.

"What kind of gear does IR have for cold water diving? I have some gear of my own, but it's not designed for diving in the North Sea."

Gordon smiled back at him. "International Rescue has come prepared. We're equipped with state of the art dry suits and breathing gear that won't freeze up in the cold water." Gordon went to locker, pulling out one of the suits, showing it to Brandon.

"Whoa. I guess I won't have to worry about turning into an ice cube," he said as he fingered the material." He looked around the bay some more and his eyes fell on a set of rails. They reminded Brandon of railroad tracks without the ties in the middle.

"Hey Gordon, what are the rails for?" Brandon asked, getting more curious all the time. There was so much he had to learn.

"They're used to launch Thunderbird Four. Under normal circumstances, the pod is dropped to the ocean's surface. The pod door opens, the rails extend, and I use the engines to propel TB4 into the water.

"Man, Gordon, these aren't exactly 'normal circumstances'. How are you going to get Four into the water?"

The senior aquanaut ran his hand through his hair. "I have no idea. I hope Alan's come up with something."

"Excuse me Gordon, Brandon." A feminine voice spoke, causing both men to turn to the source.

"Hi Tin-Tin. What's up?"

"Virgil wants you both topside. We're twenty minutes from the danger zone.

"F-A-B. We're on our way up." Gordon gestured with his head for Brandon to follow and together they made their way back to their seats.

With help from Tikatu

Post by MagicMaster8 on 12/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #647 is a reply to message #646] Tue, 24 July 2012 16:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Christopher was absorbed as Tin-Tin was explaining the various winch and line systems available to them.

"We also have the rescue capsule which holds four people," Tin-Tin looked at him and smiled.

"Thank you for that little crash-course." Christopher smiled back, he liked Tin-Tin's smile.

But deep down he was nervous. This was his first rescue and he wanted to get things right.

"But," he admitted to himself, "the lifting off of Thunderbird 2 was an event in itself."

He had sat with Tin-Tin in the cockpit for a little while and observed Virgil, who was in full control of the huge craft.

He had flown a Hercules Firestorm transport plane whilst in the RAF, a humanitarian flight, and he had found it a difficult task in itself. He would need many hours flying the Thunderbird 2 simulator if he would even start to understand and fly the craft within Virgil's strict expectations.

Post by TheWrongTrousers on 14/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #648 is a reply to message #647] Tue, 24 July 2012 16:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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3:15 p.m., Monday 5th March, 2068, The Saucy Lady

Tommy Brennan regained consciousness and groaned. Every time the Saucy Lady pitched and tossed, waves of pain and nausea swept through his body. What a fool he had been! What had he hoped to achieve? He thought about his wife, Mary, and their young baby daughter, Charlotte. Would he ever see them again?

Life over the recent months had been hard as catches were down in the North Sea and they had been forced to go out for longer and fish further away to get a good catch to pay all the crew. He thought of the day they had left, and Mary, as usual, stood with the other wives to bid them farewell and a safe return. All the wives knew of the dangers, and he also knew that Mary hated him going. Theirs was a close-knit community, and a loss of a boat would hit them all hard.

He groaned as another wave of pain shot through his body. Suddenly he was aware that Captain Bowers and Jock Ferguson, who had first aid experience and acted as medic for crew, were talking, as he drifted back into unconsciousness

"I dinna like the look of him, Jock," Captain Bowers said.

"Aye, he has a broken leg and possibly a broken hip, but it is the internal injuries that concern me most," Jock replied. "He has a lot of bruising around his ribs and stomach, but no obvious bleeding."

Tommy regained consciousness. "Am I going to die, Captain?" he asked.

"Not if I have my way, laddie," Captain Bowers replied.

"Has International Rescue replied to our call?" Tommy asked, and gritted his teeth as another wave of nausea and pain swept through his body. He was not a man to cry, indeed they were all tough, even him, the youngest, and he didn't want to appear weak in front of his Captain, but suddenly he felt so totally helpless. He groaned as the pain became intense, made worse by the tossing and pitching of the boat.

"Can't you give him something for the pain, Jock?" Captain Bowers asked.

"I can give him a sedative, which may hopefully send him to sleep, but he wants medical attention and fast, if we aren't to lose him. All we can do is keep him as still as possible and warm, which considering the heating elements are not working, is going to be tough." Jock replied, and reached for his medikit.

Ian Drummond came in. "How's he doing, Cap'n?"

"Nay so good, but dinna let the rest of the crew know just how seriously injured he is. It wouldna do their morale any good to know we could be in danger of losing him."

"Captain!" Jim rushed in, "I've just been informed by the Navy that International Rescue has reached NG rig 3!"

Captain Bowers glanced at the eager face of the radio operator.

"Thank God!" Ian Drummond said.

"Amen to that," Captain Bowers replied.

Jock came and joined them. "Tommy is sleeping at the moment, but for how long, I dinna know. The pain may break through the sedative and wake him."

"Well, according to the Navy, International Rescue is on the scene."

Suddenly, the trawler slammed up against the stanchion of the gas rig, sending the fishermen flying!

"Wha' th' hell was that?" shouted Captain Bowers as he picked himself up off the deck. Ian took the steps to the upper deck two at a time. When he returned, his face was pale.

"We're bein' slammed up against the supports o' one o' th' gas rigs, Cap'n! The waves keep pushin' us agin her hard!"

"My God! I hope that International Rescue comes through, for at this rate, there'll be nae left o' us t' rescue! Especially if that mine detonates!"

Post by Tawnyangel22 on 16/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!

[Updated on: Tue, 24 July 2012 16:42]

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #649 is a reply to message #648] Tue, 24 July 2012 16:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 5, 2068, 3:40 p.m., Highland Gas Rig5

Alan was getting very antsy. He tapped his foot and rapped his fingernails on Mobile Control, then looked at his watch for the umpteenth time. The oil rig workers kept at their business, though once in a while one or two would stop to glance at him and speak in soft tones together. It had been thirty minutes since they had felt the first vibrations of the Saucy Lady being slammed against a joist by the savage waves. Two men had been sent out to keep an eye on the ship and reported in every five minutes. To Alan, it was a miracle that the ship had as of yet neither capsized due to ice on the superstructure nor had gone down from the battering it was taking.

Just a little more miracle, just a little more, Alan prayed silently. He didn't dare contact Virgil again; he knew that his brother was getting as much speed out of his Thunderbird as he could and that the stress of Alan's repeated messages was getting to him. Getting to him? He nearly bit my head off last time!

But Alan himself was feeling stressed. John kept passing along messages, not from base, but from "remote base" which meant Scott and... his father. He knew that his Dad needed to know how things were going and in particular, how Dianne was doing. Well, Dad, Mom is fine. She's warm and dry and probably going just as crazy as I am over there on Rig 5.

At last, the message he was waiting for came.

"Thunderbird Two to Mobile Control. Come in, Ay."

Alan jumped to it. "Mobile Control to Thunderbird Two. Go ahead."

"We are approaching your position with an ETA of seven minutes. Where do you want us and what do you want us to do? This sea is too rough to drop the pod."

"F-A-B, Thunderbird Two. You are to proceed to NGRig5. I am uploading coordinates. They have enough helipad to support you and Doc is waiting there. As far as the pod is concerned," here Alan took a deep breath, "this is what I want you to do. I want you to land so that the hydraulic lifts in front are as close as possible to the edge of the pad. Then lift up, and open the pod. Doc will be able to join you at that point. Telescope the rails out to their farthest extent and launch Four from there."

There was silence on the other end, and then Gordon's incredulous voice cut in. "Are you crazy, Ay? Do you know what kind of drop that will be, even with the rails full extended?"

"I do, Gee. Not much worse than the pod itself takes when it's dropped from Two. And I've already checked with R & D. He says that Four can take it without damage," Alan explained. There was a pause. "Do you have any better ideas?"

Silence again, then Gordon's voice came back. "No," he barked. "But if Four gets so much as a scratch on her...."

"Right, Gee, right," Alan cut in.

Virgil's voice now sounded off. "Placing Two like that is going to take some pretty pinpoint accurate flying, Ay."

"I know, Vee. But you can do it, can't you?" Alan said in exasperation. "Or perhaps if you can't, Tee can. Or maybe CJ?"

There had been some discussion over what initials to use for the two "C" named operatives, and Christopher had suggested that he use CJ, an old nickname of his.

"I can do it," Virgil growled. "ETA Rig5 now five minutes. I am over your position. After Four launches, what then?"

"Then you pick up the pod again and head over here to use the rescue cage to take up the men from the boat. They've got one very badly injured man, so Doc and one of the medics need to go down with the cage to triage and treat. The people in Four can look out for anyone washed overboard and can work on getting the mine cut clear. Captain Bowers tells me that they are taking on water, so you'd better step on it."

"F-A-B. I'm at Rig 5 now. Setting down in two minutes."

"F-A-B, Thunderbird Two. Let me know when Four is away."

"F-A-B, Mobile Control. Here comes Doc now. I'll let you know when Four is launched."

A beeping in his ear signalled that John wanted to speak with him. "Thunderbird Two, I'll get back to you. Thunderbird Five, this is Mobile Control. What is it, Jay?"

"Another update requested by remote base, Ay," John said tiredly. Dad must be really on his case, Alan thought.

"Good news, Thunderbird Five. Two has arrived at Rig5 and picked up Doc. Four is getting ready to launch."

"F-A-B, I'll pass the word along, Ay, and thanks."

Alan took his earbud out momentarily and dug around in his ear with a pinky. Then he looked at the rig men who had gathered around. He smiled. "Thunderbird Two will be here momentarily to start pulling the men off of the Saucy Lady. Speaking of which," he put the earbud back in and flicked a switch, "I'd better tell them the good news. International Rescue to Saucy Lady. Prepare to be boarded."

Post by Tikatu on 16/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #650 is a reply to message #649] Tue, 24 July 2012 16:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Dianne skittered across Rig 5's icy decking towards the wet green bulk that was Thunderbird Two. She ducked under the tail part of the fuselage, feeling the blast of heat from the engines so recently in use. She slipped and slid around the pod to the small access door beside the main pod door, which was slowly lowering. Putting a bare palm up to the pad next to the entry, she let it scan then punched in a code. The door slid open, and she entered the relative warmth and dryness of the pod, and removed her rain-speckled visor. Need to tell Brains that if we're going to use these things, they'll need a good coating of Turtle Wax!

Standing still for a moment, she watched as Thunderbird Four's launch rails slid out as far as they could go, far over the edge of the rig and the heaving ocean waters. A wave from within the cockpit of the small sub caught her attention, and she returned Gordon's wave and Tin-Tin's smile. With Gordon, Brandon, and Tin-Tin in there, it's going to be a crowded trip. I hope they don't have to pick up too many casualties.

Four's engines fired up and roared for a good full minute before the yellow craft began to move towards the swells. It picked up speed as it slid along but all too soon it was flying through the air and then it cut into a huge wave with a tremendous splash and disappeared. The rails began to retract, and Dianne sighed, turning her attention to Thunderbird Seven, at the far end of the pod. She began to stride, then run, as the pod door closed up and she heard the familiar sound of Thunderbird Two settling down around the pod again. By the time the electromagnets made their familiar loud "thunk," she was climbing up into Seven's control cab.

She shrugged out of her jacket and pulled off her cap and gloves, then slid open the door between the control cab and the treatment cabin. She smiled to see both Nikki and Dom, dressed in their IR scrubs, look up at her.

"Welcome home, Dr. Tracy!" Nikki said with a smile.

"Thank you! I suppose this does qualify as 'home' from time to time." Dianne replied.

"Dom's been giving me a run-down on how to use some of the equipment."

"Not that I know too terribly much about it," Dom admitted. "But I do remember what we used and how we used it during that last...." His voice trailed off as he saw Dianne's face become somber.

"That last rescue. Yes. We won't forget that one for a long time, will we?" Dianne said, and then she smiled slightly. Looking around, she nodded approvingly. "Looks like we're ready for this. You've done a good prep job."

"Thank you!" Dom and Nikki said in near unison. Dianne moved towards the back of the cabin.

"I'll change to scrubs quickly and while I do, I can tell you how we'll handle this." She pulled off her uniform waistcoat, and slid a scrub top on over her mock turtleneck. "There's one badly injured man on the trawler; the medic there suspects a broken leg and hip and internal bleeding. He's coming up first. Nikki, I'll want you with me since you're good with triage. I expect plenty of frostbite and frost nip and some hypothermia as well." She slipped out of her boots and trousers and into scrub pants and then put her boots back on. "We'll go down in the rescue cage and get that one man first and do a quickie triage, then up for treatment. I'll need you in the surgery here, Dom. Nikki, you'll be in charge of the cabin until we are through with the first man." Hanging up her garments and locating her clogs to wear later, she came out of the surgery area. "Help the men get back to Seven while the rescue cage is going up and down. I understand that there are twelve all told, so there should only be four trips."

"Understood, Doctor." "Yes, Doctor."

"What do you have for cold weather gear?"

Dominic pulled out a quilted blue coat and a furry hat with earflaps. Dianne groaned and then chuckled. "I hate being between uniforms," she stated, shaking her head with a rueful smile. She stepped back into the stores area and pulled out a small box. "I see you have your wrist telecomms. That's good, but back here, we use hands-free." She gave each of them an earbud with a microphone attached, and then she dug into a pocket of her waistcoat and took out her own. The three tested the earbuds, and then heard Virgil calling from the cockpit.

"We're over the Saucy Lady, Doc. Are you ready?"

"F-A-B. Be there in a tick."

Nikki pulled on her coat and hat, and Dianne did the same with her jacket and cap. Dom handed her the medikit, and Nikki took an antigravity stretcher.

"Let's go."

Post by Tikatu on 16/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #651 is a reply to message #650] Tue, 24 July 2012 16:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Brandon, Gordon, and Tin-Tin crammed themselves into TB4's cockpit and prepared for the rough departure from TB2. "I can't believe this is the only way!" Gordon complained.

"There really isn't much of a choice, Gordon. We'll just have to do it," answered Tin-Tin. She wasn't exactly thrilled herself when she'd heard how they were too launch.

Brandon didn't say anything. He just hoped they'd make it off the rig and into the waves in one piece.

As the pod door opened and the rails slid out in front of them, Gordon spotted Dianne. "Hey, look! It's Mom!" and he started to wave. Tin-Tin looked up and smiled widely. "TB2 from TB4, starting engines now." Gordon radioed in.

"F-A-B. Good luck TB4," Virgil's steady voice echoed back. Gordon powered the four mighty engines to a full roar and waited a full minute before releasing the brakes.

"Okay, Brandon, Tin-Tin, buckle in and hang on! TB2 from TB4 releasing brake and starting descent now!"

Tin-Tin glanced at Brandon. "Don't worry so much, you'll be fine!" she whispered over to him.

Brandon nodded his thanks. "Just this drop thing, I guess. Not exactly the smoothest of launches I've experienced."

Tin-Tin understood. She'd launched with Gordon many times but she had to admit to herself this was going to be nerve-wracking. She hoped Gordon would fare okay, and thought about his back causing him trouble.

"Gordon, are you...?" she started to ask him when he cut her off.

"I'm fine, Tin-Tin. Relax, will ya!" he half-joked, Brandon chuckled but Tin-Tin knew Gordon better than that. He was worried too.

"Here we go!"

The yellow TB craft picked up speed as it hurtled down the rails and suddenly became airborne. TB4 flew through the air and cut into a huge wave at great speed! There was an almighty splash and then the craft submerged.

"Whoa! What a rush!" Brandon managed to say between sucking in a deep breath.

The mini-sub hit the water with more force than Gordon would have liked, but it couldn't be helped. The swells around them were not forgiving and diving down against the force of the waves was proving difficult.

"Everyone okay back there?" Gordon asked.

"Yes, Gordon, we're fine, although I don't think I'd like to do that again anytime soon," replied Tin-Tin.

"Yeah, me either," Gordon replied.

Tin-Tin noticed how Gordon tweaked his back before calling Mobile Control. She made a mental note to herself to watch him as closely as she could.

"Mobile Control from TB4, we are submerged, need co-ordinates for direct course to Saucy Lady."

"Mobile Control to TB4, glad you're all okay."

"Yeah, thanks, now...the co-ordinates please?"

Alan heard the contempt in Gordon's voice. He was still angry with him for suggesting the way TB4 was to launch. Too bad, but it was the only way, Alan thought to himself as he gave Gordon the requested information. TB4 bounced and weaved with the waves and current, which seemed to change direction constantly.

"Brandon, let's get the equipment you'll need ready," suggested Tin-Tin. They unfastened the safety belts and got to work.

"Will you be going out with me?" Brandon asked, suddenly confused. Tin-Tin smiled.

"No, you and Gordon will go and I will take over command here and will be in constant contact with everyone." Brandon felt more reassured and actually started to feel his adrenaline start to bubble.

"Tin-Tin, we're as close as we can get. I can see the mine and the trawler. This is where you take over!"

"F-A-B," she replied as she got up to take over from Gordon. She fidgeted in her seat and then called Alan.

"Mobile Control from TB4, 2 divers ready to leave and board the trawler."

"F-A-B, TB4, will radio trawler and rig now," came Alan's reply.

Tin-Tin gave a fleeting thought to Alan and then was all business again. "Air lock door open, be careful."

Both men nodded as they entered the lock. The door whooshed shut and Tin-Tin opened the outer air lock door and 2 rescuers and their equipment began the struggle to get to the surface. Tin-Tin watched and fought the controls against the surges that rocked the sides of TB4.

Post by FrankieCTB2 on 16/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #652 is a reply to message #651] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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The wind whipped rain into the rescue cage as it lowered Nikki and Dianne to the pitching deck of the Saucy Lady. "This is going to be tricky, isn't it?" Nikki asked.

"Oh my, yes," Dianne replied. "Very tricky. I hope you don't get motion sickness."

"Not to my knowledge," Nikki said, watching the deck come closer and closer. "But this is no place to find out, is it?"

Landing on the wet, slippery, and rolling deck, they were met by Captain Bowers and Jock Fergusson.

"Are we pleased to see you!" Captain Bowers said. "We are trying to keep Tommy as still and warm as possible below decks. Jock here thinks that his leg and hip is broken, and from the amount of bruising, some internal bleeding as well."

Dianne smiled as the two women were escorted below decks. "Well, we'll scan him and see what there is to see and if he needs immediate treatment, we're prepared." She looked around. "What other injuries do you have? My colleague here will triage and set up an order of people to go up to our ship."

"Apart from young Tommy, who is the most seriously injured, one man has a badly cut arm. Although we have managed to staunch the bleeding, it may be needing a stitch or two. There are two of my older crew with cuts and bruises, one of whom is a diabetic and has a badly injured foot, and should be attended to as soon as possible."

"Sounds like the diabetic first after Tommy here," Nikki said. "I'll take a look at him."

"F-A-B, En." They came to the place where Tommy was, wrapped up warmly against the cold. Dianne smiled at the young man. "You can call me 'Doc'. I'm here to take a look at you and then get you out of here." She peeled back the blankets and took out her scanner.

"Hmm. A definitely broken fibula, but I think that the thigh is slightly dislocated where it meets the hip and the hip's not broken. My surgical scanner will give me a better view. The bruising is a cause of concern. You may be losing your spleen today. And a couple of fingers are fractured, too." Dianne gave Tommy an encouraging look. "Your spleen should be the only thing you lose today." She covered him back up. "I'll splint the leg, then pull you out of here."

Tommy tried to smile at the reassuring Doc, but the thought of being moved made him afraid. He didn't want to be moved, but he knew that there was no other option. If only the pain and nausea would go away. He thought longingly of Mary and Charlotte. He was certain that this would be the subject of news, news that he didn't want Mary to know about. She'll be frantic with worry. The Doc began to splint his leg and he began to be prepared to be lifted off the boat.

Dianne pulled an inflatable splint from the medikit and fastened it around Tommy's leg, then inflated it. Then she took out a hypospray. "This is a systemic analgesic. It will help with the pain. You may feel drowsy; don't fight it." She pressed it against his neck and Tommy winced at the hissing sound.

Nikki returned. "The diabetic is in a bad way, too, Doc. Do you think he could come up in the first trip?"

Dianne shook her head. "There won't be room with the stretcher."

"Then why don't I stay here and send him up. I'll come up with the other two injuries. Do... I mean, Dee, can meet you at the rescue cage...."

"Sounds like a plan, En. Dee?"

Dominic was startled up in Thunderbird Seven to hear his code name called. "Yes, Doc?"

"Meet me at the rescue cage in 10 minutes. En is going to stay here and bring up our next injured."

"F-A-B, Doc."

Slowly, Tommy was placed on the stretcher. He was drowsy from the analgesic, but for the first time in what seemed like hours, pain free. The Doc explained that the stretcher would be placed in a cage and be winched up. Groggily he nodded. Captain Bowers helped the diabetic into the rescue cage, too, and watched as it was winched slowly up and away from the deck. The young female nurse turned to Captain Bowers.

"We are going to get the other injured crew members off next."

Dominic stood beside CJ just inside the bay doors. He helped Dianne take Tommy back to the treatment area. Christopher took a few moments to help the diabetic, and Dom settled the man on a bed as CJ went back to the winch. The surgical scanner passed slowly under Tommy's body and Dianne hissed.

"That spleen is going to have to come out now. Dee? Let's get him prepped."

"Yes, Doc," Dominic said firmly, entering the surgical area and taking out the scissors to remove Tommy's clothing. Dianne stood by Tommy's head. "Tommy, we're going to have to take that spleen out now. It can't wait. Do you understand?"

Tommy nodded. There were so many questions he wanted answered. Was the operation dangerous? Would he be able to continue working as a fisherman? He couldn't imagine any other way of life. He tried to speak but somehow in his groggy state he didn't appear to be able to speak. Suddenly he looked at the Doc and in almost a whisper asked, "Will I die?"

Dianne smiled and smoothed back Tommy's dark hair. "No. You won't die. Not on my watch." She pulled out a hypospray and put an ampoule into it. "This is some anesthesia. By the time you wake up, you'll be in the hospital and everything will be just fine." She pressed it against his neck and it hissed and Tommy's world slowly went dark.

She turned to Dom. "Let me know when he's prepped. I'll take a look at our diabetic out here and work on his foot in the meantime."

"Yes, Doctor." Dom smiled. This was the kind of work he loved and he was doing it for the very best organization in the world!

In the meantime, Captain Bowers was ready to grab the rescue capsule as it came down for the second time. He looked at it dubiously. How can these people do this all the time? Throw themselves into these situations without thinking about their own safety? He was suddenly shocked to see a frogman come over the side of the trawler, carried by a wave. The frogman saw him, gave him a small salute, and headed for the stern of the boat, an equipment bag over one shoulder.

"He's one of ours," Nikki said as she came up behind him, supporting the diabetic patient. "He and another frogman are going to try to cut the mine free."

"I hope t' God they kin do it," the Captain said. He reached out for the rescue cage and held it in place. "Will ye be comin' back down for th' next trip?"

"No, sir. But each man has been numbered and they know what order they're to come up in. Now don't you be getting any ideas of going down with the ship, Cap'n," Nikki warned him, shaking a finger at him. "I know you'll be last up though."

Captain Bowers watched as slowly the rescue cage was filled with the injured, and it was winched up from the deck of the Saucy Lady. He saw the bright light of a laser being used at the stern of his ship and a pang went through him as he realized that he was about to lose something that was almost as valuable to him as his own soul; he was about to lose his Saucy Lady.

Post by Tawnyangel22 and Tikatu on 16/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #653 is a reply to message #652] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island; Tuesday, March 6th 2068; 4:10AM

Brains was getting antsy. He wanted to know what was going on, but knew that John was already fielding constant demands for updates from Jeff. He got up from the desk and started pacing.

"I wish there was some way I could find out what is going on without calling John. He's got enough on his hands, with Mr. Tracy calling him every few minutes," he said to no one in particular.

"Would the news services be covering this somehow?" Kat asked.

"You're right! Why didn't I think of this before? They wouldn't be out at the rescue site or on the naval vessel, but they'd be at the base." He practically leaped at the desk and punched the button that turned on the TV in the lounge.

It came on as one news story was just ending. The announcer then said, "Now an update on a breaking story. A fishing trawler out of Peterhead, the Saucy Lady, found itself in trouble when the crew accidentally snagged an old World War Two mine. The chain trailing from the mine got tangled around the ship's propellers, causing it to go dead in the water. Complicating things is a storm that broke about the same time and the fact that there is a drilling rig nearby. They put out a call to the Navy for help, but the only ship in the area, the Excelsior, found more of the mines in its path.

"International Rescue has been called, and we have just learned that they are now on the scene. We take you to the World Naval Base at Lossiemouth. Our reporter, Giles Baxter is out there. Giles, have you learned anything more you can tell us?"

"Arthur, I have been informed that there is at least one seriously injured man on the trawler. International Rescue personnel have managed to get him off the boat, and are taking the others off as quickly as they can. Also there are personnel attempting to detach the mine from the boat's propellers. But with this storm and the freezing temperatures, it'll be a miracle if they can all be rescued."

"Giles, do you have the name of the injured man?"

"Not at this time. We know there were twelve men on the trawler which has . . . Wait! I'm getting another update." The reporter put a hand to his ear. "We have just been informed that the trawler has been pushed into one of the stanchions of the drilling rig by the waves. There may not be much time left. I'll keep you updated as the bulletins come in. Back to you, Arthur."

The anchor shook his head as he said, "Thank you, Giles. Please break in anytime you get something. Now, in the town of Peterhead, we have Sara Troughbridge. Sara, what can you tell us?"

The picture switched to a dark haired woman standing just outside a church. "Arthur, I'm outside St. Andrew the Apostle church, where the families and friends of the men aboard the Saucy Lady have gathered to pray. None of them agreed to be interviewed on camera, but one of them told me that most of the crew are seasoned seamen, and they hope and pray they all come through this safely. They have a radio with them so they can get any news immediately.

"I do know that two of the crewmen are new fathers; one has a daughter just four months old and the other has twin boys who are ten months old. They all ask for our prayers. From Peterhead, this is Sara Troughbridge with NTSB. Back to you, Arthur."

"Thank you, Sara. Tell them we are hoping and praying for the best. Once again, the fishing trawler, the Saucy Lady is in trouble in the North Sea. A mine was snagged in the nets and its chain wrapped around the propeller. One seaman is injured seriously, and the trawler is now being smashed against a drilling rig in the area. The naval vessel that was heading out to rescue it was stopped by several more mines in its path. International Rescue has been called and is now on the scene. We will bring you more information as we get it."

Brains turned the TV off. "It sure looks like this is going to be a tough one for everyone. I hope the new recruits are up to it."

Kat walked over to him and put a hand on his shoulder. "Consider this their 'trial by fire'. And if they can get through this, they'll be able to get through anything."

"They have to get through this. They just have to."

Post by Hobbeth on 17/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #654 is a reply to message #653] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Captain Bowers made sure his last crewmen were in the capsule. He told Jock, "I'll be right back. I want to thank someone."

"Cap'n! No!" Jock shouted, but either the captain ignored him or didn't hear him. He slipped and slid his way back to the stern, to where the frogman was working on the mine's tangled chain.

"I wanted to say thank you." The captain leant down and put his hand out for the frogman to shake. Brandon looked up and took his hand just as WOOOOSSHHH!!!! A giant wave hit the deck, pulling Captain Bowers overboard!

Christopher swore to himself as he saw the events unfold. "Get into the cage and close the doors!" he shouted over the noise of the engines and rough weather. He was glad that he had his personal communication system which could be received in the capsule. A green light blinked to tell him that the doors were closed, so he pulled the lever to start the winch engines up.

The capsule started its perilous journey back up to Thunderbird 2. More huge waves threatened to swamp the capsule, so he hurriedly pushed the winch up to top speed so he could get the rest of the passengers up to Thunderbird 2.

Suddenly a whine erupted through the winch area as the capsule ground to a halt. Loads of status lights went red.

"Vee to CJ!" Virgil's voice blasted into Christopher's ear. "What's happened to the winch?"

"It looks like it's jammed!" Christopher started hurriedly to examine the equipment "I don't know what to do!"

"The toolkit is next to you." Virgil's voice was calm, but with an underlying current of anger beneath.

Christopher opened the toolkit as Thunderbird 2 fought to keep a stable position. He tried everything he knew.

"It's not going to budge," Christopher said to Virgil.

"Keep trying, CJ," Virgil urged him. "You can do it."

Christopher ran his fingers through his hair, thinking frantically. Then he paused. Clenching his fist, he moved to the side of the winch motor and thumped it. Suddenly the red warning lights ceased to flash, and the capsule restarted its choppy journey upwards. He got the passengers out of the capsule, and sent them to Thunderbird 7 for a check-up.

"Vee!" Christopher locked the capsule down into its area. "I'm shutting the winch down!"

"F-A-B, CJ." Virgil sounded a little more relieved. "How did you get it working?"

"Don't know." Christopher shrugged. "Luck?"

Post by TheWrongTrousers on 18/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #655 is a reply to message #654] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"How's it going on, Bee?" Gordon asked, looking down from his vantage point on the deck. He paused a moment, catching himself as his feet slipped on the icy deck. Cutting the chain on the mine was dangerous enough without the constant rolling of the deck beneath their feet.

"It's going, Gee," Brandon answered as he cut loose another section of chain. "Can't we go any faster? These lasers aren't doing too well in this cold."

"No we can't," Gordon replied. "It's too risky. If it were to break loose and detonate, it could kill us both. This way we have, at least, a little control over it." Brandon nodded in agreement, a shiver passing through his body. Gordon looked at him keenly.

"Time to switch, Bee."

"Okay. I won't argue." Brandon handed the laser cutter up to Gordon, then reached up a hand. Gordon grabbed it and pulled, hard. Brandon burst from the water, clutching at the stern and climbing over. Gordon then jumped into the frigid water, and Brandon handed him the laser. The two men continued their job in tense silence, only occasionally speaking to one another.

Brandon was concentrating on Gordon's work when he felt a hand touch his shoulder. He flinched and looked up at Captain Bowers, who had come back to thank them for saving his men. Brandon had just taken his hand to shake it when a violent wave pulled the captain from his grasp and flung him overboard!

"Captain!" Brandon shouted, attempting to make his way to the side of the boat. "Gee, we have a man over..." Brandon's words were cut off as another wave crashed on the deck, dragging him into the icy water of the sea below.

Gordon's head jerked up when he heard the urgency in Brandon's voice. "Bee, this is Gee. Do you copy? Come in, Bee!" The only thing he got in reply was the howl of the wind and the roar of the waves.

Brandon bobbed around in the storm-tossed water. He knew that he had to find the captain and quickly. Even with the protective clothing he wore, the captain would not last more than a few minutes. Already he could feel the cold through the walls of his dry suit. Looking around, he thought he could see a figure floating in the water and tossed by the waves. With strong, sure strokes, he started swimming towards the figure. As he got closer, he could see Captain Bowers and his desperate attempts at keeping awake, the signs of frostbite present on his face. Brandon swam closer, grabbing at the captain. Suddenly, a wave welled up between the two men and pushed them farther apart.

Come on, McCain, you can do it. You have to do it. With renewed effort, he reached out towards Bowers and smiled grimly as he felt Bowers grab his arm frantically, pulling himself into Brandon's strong grip.

"Th-thank y-you," Captain Bowers said through chattering teeth. "I-I th-thought th-that the s-s-sea would h-h-have her w-way w-with m-m-me."

Brandon smiled wryly. "Not on my shift, she won't." The aquanaut looked at Bower's face and noticed the telltale signs of hypothermia. I'd better let Gee know what's going on, Brandon thought, hanging on tightly to Bower's shivering body.

Post by Magicmaster8 and Tikatu on 20/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #656 is a reply to message #655] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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"Gee, this is Bee. Do you copy?"

Astern the Saucy Lady, Gordon heard Brandon's voice and nearly shouted in relief. "Bee, this is Gee. I copy. What is your current status? Did you find Captain Bowers?"

"Yes I did. But he's in a bad way. He's has frostbite on his face and is suffering from hypothermia. We need to get him to Thunderbird Seven ASAP. "

"F-A-B, Bee. I'll contact Jay and have him pinpoint your position so Tee can pick you up."

"Gee to Thunderbird Five. Come in Thunderbird Five."

"This is Thunderbird Five. Go ahead, Gee."

"I need you to locate Bee. He's in the water and has a victim with him. The victim is suffering from hypothermia and frostbite and we need to get him to Seven as soon as possible."

"F-A-B, Gee. Stand by." John activated the tracking system and looked for the signal from Brandon's wristcom. He frowned, flipping another switch.

"Thunderbird Five to Gee. The tracking system was unable to pick up his signal. The wrist telecomm may have been damaged or separated from Bee somehow."

"Damn, that's just what we don't need. Okay, Jay, I'll tell Tee to begin looking for Bee while I finish taking care of the mine." Gordon toggled a switch on his telecomm. "Gee to Thunderbird Four, come in."

Tin-Tin, who had been struggling to keep Thunderbird Four from being driven off course by the violent seas, responded. "This is Thunderbird Four, Gee. Go ahead."

"We have a situation, Tee. Thunderbird Five has lost contact with Bee. I heard from him seven minutes ago. He has a hypothermia victim with him that's in need of immediate medical treatment."

"You need me to find him? Any idea which way he went in relation to the Saucy Lady?" Tin-Tin asked, a sudden fear clutching at her. We cannot lose one of our new recruits, not now! I need to find him!

"Negative, Tee. I'll contact him and see if he can give me any kind of co-ordinates.

"F-A-B Gee. I'll be standing by."

After breaking off communications with Tin-Tin, Gordon tried to raise Brandon and after a few tense minutes, his voice could be heard.

"Hey Gee, what's keepin' Tee? She shoulda been here already. Captain Bowers is getting worse and I don't know how much longer he can last. I've been sharing my breather with him so he won't have to continuously breathe in the cold salt water; but that doesn't help the hypothermia." He paused. "An' I'm beginning to feel the cold myself."

"Bee, listen," Gordon said urgently, "do you have any idea which way you were dragged when you went overboard?"

"I-I'm not sure. I think I went over the port side and was pulled at a right angle to the boat. Man, I haven't been this cold in a looong time, Gee."

"Hang in there a little longer, okay? Tee will be there as quickly as possible."

"I'll try, Gee. Please, tell Tee to hurry. I'm really beginning to feel the cold."

Gordon quickly got in touch with Tin-Tin and relayed the information Brandon had given him.

"F-A-B, Gee. I'm on my way." Tin-Tin turned the lighting trough up to maximum intensity and brought the trim craft up to the depth of five meters. She also turned on the sonar, hoping to catch a reading on the two men.

Post by MagicMaster8 and Tikatu on 20/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #657 is a reply to message #656] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Brandon was unsure how long he had been in the water. The intense cold had penetrated his suit and it took all of his effort to focus on the survival of the two of them. Captain Bowers looked into Brandon's eyes and noticed the effort it took for him to keep his grip tight around him.

"Y-you should h-h-have let the s-sea take m-m-me. Th-that way you would h-h-have had a b-b-better chance of surviving."

"No way, captain. In our line of work, nobody, and I mean nobody, gets left behind." Come on Tee, where are you?

In Thunderbird Four, Tin-Tin fought the shifting current as she searched for Brandon. She was about to change course to search another area when the sonar pinged, indicating something above her. Looking out the view port, she could just distinguish the outline of something dangling in the water. Bringing Thunderbird Four closer to the dangling object, she saw what it was and realized that she had found Brandon.

"Tee to Bee. Do you copy? I'm a few feet behind you. I'm going to surface as close to you as I can. I'll need you to swim to Thunderbird Four's upper airlock. I'll keep her as stable as I can."

"F-A-B, Tee. We'll be ready." Brandon readied himself and Captain Bowers for the rough swim and waited for the mini-sub to surface. A few seconds later, Tin-Tin surfaced so just the upper hatch of the sub was above the water and pulled to within three feet of the struggling men.

"Okay Bee, I'm as close as I can get to you."

"F-A-B, we're on our way." Brandon put one arm around Captain Bowers and, using the other one to propel them through the water, started the treacherous swim to Thunderbird Four. There was a tense moment when a swell threatened to separate them from their goal.

"No-Damn-Way!" Brandon said through gritted teeth. With a final surge of energy, he climbed onto the top of Thunderbird Four and, with Captain Bowers at his side, slid his way over to the airlock.

"We're in, Tee, and the airlock's secure. Let's get moving. The sooner we get the captain to Thunderbird Seven, the quicker he can get treated for the hypothermia."

"Okay, Bee," Tin-Tin activated her telecomm. "Thunderbird Four to Thunderbird Two. We have another patient for Seven. Lower the rescue cage."

"No can do, Four, the cage winch is offline," Virgil replied.

Tin-Tin swore under her breath, making Brandon's eyes widen. "Four to Mobile Control, We have a problem."

"Mobile Control here, Tee," Alan replied. "What is your situation?"

"We have rescued a man who went overboard. He's hypothermic and has frostbite. I am informed that we cannot get him into Two because the rescue capsule is offline. What are your orders?"

Alan thought for a moment, and then snapped his fingers. "Tee, I will inform the Excelsior of the situation and ask their assistance." He toggled another switch. "This is International Rescue to WNS Excelsior. We require your assistance...."

"International Rescue this is the Excelsior. How can we be of service?"

"We have a hypothermic patient in our submersible and no way to get him to our sickbay. Can you oblige with your sickbay?"

"Roger, International Rescue. We'll have our medics standing by." Alan gave his thanks to the Excelsior's commander and got back with Tin-Tin.

"Aye to Tee. Proceed to the WNS Excelsior. Their medics will be standing by to receive your patient."

"Gee to Thunderbird Four. I'm about to finish cutting through the chain. We can't let the mine get loose. I need Four over here to grab it and tow it away."

"If that mine gets away from us, the rig will be in danger," Tin-Tin murmured. She turned to Brandon. "We'll have to take care of the mine first. I'll turn up the internal heat and hope for the best."

So saying, Tin-Tin turned up the heat in the little cabin. Brandon soon found himself stripping off his drysuit. Getting Gordon's coordinates from John, she turned the little vessel and sped it beneath the waves to where the Saucy Lady lay, half submerged and ready to go down.

"Okay, Gee, I'm here. Activating the grab." The long arm with its pincers grip slid out from the nose of the submersible. Tin-Tin very carefully used it to grab the chain at one of the links nearest the end.

"Got it, Gee."

"Good, Tee. As soon as I'm aboard, we'll tow it to the Excelsior for detonation. Then we'll get your patient to their medical facilities."

Gordon took a deep breath and cut through the last link, then swam, hell bent for leather, towards his Thunderbird. He reached the airlock just as the Saucy Lady, filled with water and covered with ice, began her descent to her watery grave.

Post by MagicMaster8 and Tikatu on 20/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #658 is a reply to message #657] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Up at Thunderbird 5, John and Callie listened intently to the transmissions between their colleagues in the North Sea. When they learned Brandon had fallen overboard and communication with him had been lost, Callie was worried. "Oh, no, not Brandon! He's just starting out like the rest of us."

John did his best to calm Callie. "There's one thing you've got to understand about International Rescue. Things happen beyond our control sometimes. With the dangerous and unpredictable weather in the North Sea, anybody can get thrown off at any time."

"I guess you're right, John. Mother Nature can play some nasty tricks." She noticed the light near the microphone. "It's Mr. Tracy, calling for another update."

"Do you want to handle it, Callie?"

"Sure. I'll let him know what's been going on, but should I tell him about Brandon?"

"Dad will want to know everything, Callie. We don't really have a choice."

"F-A-B." Callie communicated with Jeff and told him all the details of the operation, including Brandon falling overboard.

"Fallen overboard?" said a worried Jeff. "Has anyone found him?"

"There hasn't been communication with him for seven minutes. I--wait, just a moment, sir."

Callie and John both listened carefully to the communication between Tin-Tin and Gordon. When they heard Tin-Tin had successfully found Brandon, both were relieved. "Good news, sir," she said with a calming sigh, "Tee has found Bee successfully. Bee is now aboard Thunderbird 4."

John smiled. Very good, Callie. You're getting the code names down very well.

Jeff was also relieved. "Thank goodness Bee's all right. What about the mine?"

Callie said, "Gee and Tee were able to free the chain from the Saucy Lady and will tow it to the Excelsior for detonation. Captain Bowers will also be taken to the Excelsior's sick bay to be treated for hypothermia."

"Anything else we need to note about this operation?" asked Jeff.

"Yes, sir. The rescue cage malfunctioned again."

"Again? It wasn't noted the first time? Why not?"

"Um, I-I don't know, sir, I--"

John calmly patted her shoulder. "I'll take it, Callie." Taking the microphone, he said, "We logged the problem from the last rescue and did check it out thoroughly. You may have to consult with R & D for the exact problem."

"All right, Jay. Please tell C--oops, I forgot we have two Cees. Please remind me when I return that we'll have to discuss changing the code names."

"F-A-B, Father." After the transmission ended, John was relieved the "grilling" session was over. "Dad really needs to relax. The stress isn't going to help him get better."

Callie said, "Well, what do you expect, John? He is the head of International Rescue."

Post by TracyFan4Ever on 21/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!

[Updated on: Tue, 24 July 2012 17:12]

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #659 is a reply to message #658] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Virgil sighed with relief when he heard that the captain and Brandon had been recovered and that Thunderbird Four was on its way to the Excelsior. That reminds me, how are we going to get Four back into the pod? I'll dump that problem in Alan's lap.

"Thunderbird Two to Mobile Control. Ay, how are we going to get Four back into the pod?"

"Mobile Control to Thunderbird Two. Vee, Four will have to rendezvous with you on the shore at Peterhead. You have to go there to let Seven out anyway for the trip to the hospital."

"F-A-B, Mobile Control. Speaking of which, I'm headed for Peterhead now."

So saying, he turned his green machine towards the shore, getting the coordinates he needed from John in Thunderbird Five.

Christopher checked that everything was secure as Thunderbird Two banked slightly. He made his way up to the cockpit and sat himself down, securing the safety belt.

"What do I do now?" He looked at Virgil as the latter turned his craft toward shore.

"Do me a favor and give Doc a holler and find out their status back there? It won't take long to get to shore and I need to know if they're ready to go," Virgil asked.

"Okay." Christopher unbuckled his safety belt and made his way down to where Thunderbird Seven was sitting. He opened the door to the cab and went inside. He peered through the window of the door between the cab and the medical cabin and pressed the buzzer on the intercom.

"Hello in there!" Christopher waved to the people inside. "Our pilot would like to know your status."

Nikki responded. "I'm sorry, CJ, but Doc is still in surgery. The splenectomy is done but there were a couple of small bleeders that needed repair. What do you need?"

"Vee needs to know if you're ready to go," Christopher said. "He's heading for shore to rendezvous with Thunderbird Four, and let Seven go to the hospital."

Nikki shook her head. "No, we're not ready. Doc is the only one who can pilot this and she's just not finished." She sighed. "Tell Vee the situation."

"Will do." Christopher left the cab of Seven and made his way back up to the cockpit to tell Virgil. "Doc isn't finished yet." He looked grave. "And she is the only one who can pilot Seven."

"Damn. I suppose that means I'll have to pilot Seven myself." Virgil gave Christopher a keen look. "Hmm. Maybe you can keep an eye on things while I take Seven to the hospital."

"Me?" Christopher pointed to himself, but Virgil looked serious. "Okay, I'll hold the fort." He looked at the controls. "Just tell me what I need to know."

"Okay. This is the switch that will raise the body up off the pod, and lower it back down," Virgil indicated a white toggle. "I'll let you know when to put it up and down and Gordon can tell you when he gets here."


He indicated a green light on a panel. "This is the camera detector. I expect some sightseers to come and try to take photos. If this starts flashing red, it means that someone's taking pictures."


He indicated another switch. "This activates the fogger, which will erase and disrupt pictures of any kind. You can also switch this on; it's a loudspeaker and you can politely ask them to stop."

"If I may have the seat, then I can begin." Christopher smiled nervously. This was not going to be like that Hercules Firestorm. "I'm ready to go."

"Let me set her down on this beach here, and we'll get started," Virgil said with a grin. He could remember how excited he was when he started working with Thunderbird Two.

Christopher watched as Virgil set the giant craft onto the beach; he did it with finesse. Virgil unbuckled himself and left the cockpit to go down to Thunderbird Seven.

"Vee to CJ." Christopher sat himself down in the main seat. "You can raise the fuselage now." Christopher flicked the switch that started to lift the main body of Thunderbird Two upwards.

Virgil called back to Nikki. "You folks secure back there?"

"As secure as we can, be Vee. Doc is almost ready to close."

"F-A-B. Vee to CJ, lowering the pod door now." Virgil toggled a switch on Seven and the door lowered like a flap. Another switch, and Seven rose up on its whisper-soft hover jets. He activated the lights and siren and eased the medical craft out, first briefly over the waves then back over the sand and into the town.

Christopher watched with wonder as Thunderbird Seven floated away. He kept his eyes on all the control panels, including the camera detector. "CJ to Vee," Christopher said, "should I lower the body again?"|

"Yes, CJ. I've already put the door back up."

"F-A-B." Christopher smiled as he flicked the switch and felt the body lower itself again. Suddenly the warning lights of the camera detector flashed, and he caught a glimpse of a small child with a camera on a cliff nearby. He activated the fogger and the loudspeaker. "I'm sorry young lady but I can't allow you to take any pictures of us."

In the meantime, Gordon was approaching the rendezvous point. He was tired; the cold had taken a lot out of him, and his back ached. Brandon was nearly asleep in his seat.

"Thunderbird Four to Thunderbird Two. Knock, knock. Let us in," Gordon said wearily.

"Thunderbird Two receiving," Christopher said as he flicked the switch to raise the body again. "I'm sorry but Vee is not around to take your call at the moment. Would I do?"

"Hey, CJ. What are you doing there? Where'd Vee go?" Gordon asked good-humoredly.

"He had to take Thunderbird Seven to the hospital," Christopher said apologetically. "I'm holding the fort for a while till he gets back."

"Well, well. Looks like you've earned his confidence if he's left you with his big green baby," Gordon said with a wicked grin. "Thunderbird Four is stowed, CJ. You can lower away."

"F-A-B, Gee," Christopher said. "Lowering away." He paused. "I'll get some warm blankets for you," he continued, "and I'll make you a nice cup of English tea when we get back."

"Sounds good to me, CJ. I'm just looking forward to crashing in crew's quarters. Tin-Tin can move Four when Seven gets back," Gordon said, stretching and wincing. Tin-Tin noticed the wince, but wisely said nothing. She was determined, however, to put a word in the ear of one or more of the medics.

Christopher locked everything down, and went to get some blankets for the crew of Thunderbird Four. "Here we go." He handed them out to the exhausted trio. "I have the utmost respect for all of you going out in weather like that."

"You'll have your turn sometime, CJ," Gordon warned him as he steered a half-conscious Brandon to the crews' quarters. "We work in all kinds of weather."

Tin-Tin followed CJ up to the cockpit and sat down behind and to one side of him. "So, what did you think of your first rescue?"

Christopher chuckled quietly, then shot a shy look towards her. "Very exciting and very rewarding. I was impressed at the way you handled things. I went to pieces when the winch went on the fritz; not very good really."

"What exactly happened to the winch?" Tin-Tin asked with a frown. "I know I checked it out after that last rescue. The spool was a bit off, but I fixed that. What happened this time?"

"Just jammed." Christopher shrugged. "The servomotors, I think."

"I just gave the motor a good thump and that freed it." He smiled shyly. "A bit of luck that's all."

Tin-Tin chuckled. "Just gave it a thump, huh? Wish all our maintenance problems were so easily cured." Then she became sober. "Mr. Tracy will not be happy when he finds that winch failed twice in a row. Looks like Kat will have her first big repair job in replacing it when we get back."

"She is a nice girl." Christopher grinned. "Although I can see the looks she gives John."

"Thunderbird Seven to Thunderbird Two," came Virgil's voice over the radio.

"CJ here Thunderbird Seven," Christopher said, "go ahead."

"Patients have been admitted to the hospital and now we're ready to put this baby to bed. Open says me!"

"Oh, I've got to move Four!" Tin-Tin said, hurrying out to the pod.

"And I shall obey." Christopher flicked the switch. "Welcome home."

A loud burst of engines signalled the arrival of Thunderbird One. Alan set the silver rocket plane down next to the much larger cargo transport.

"Thunderbird One to Thunderbird Two. I'm here for my passenger pick up!"

"CJ to Doc," Christopher called into his telecomm. "Your chariot awaits."

"F-A-B, CJ. Thanks for the heads up," Dianne said from Seven. She was giving last minute instructions to Nikki and Dom on clean up when they got back to base.

Alan's voice rang out over all the telecomms. "Stellar job today, people. Stand down at 20:05 hours GMT."

Virgil contacted CJ. "We're all secure down here, CJ. Bring her back down."

"F-A-B Vee." Christopher flicked the switch to lower the body of Thunderbird Two down. He looked around and let out a long held breath. "That was the most exhilarating experience I've ever had."

Virgil returned to the cockpit, followed closely by Tin-Tin, Dom, and Nikki.

"Nikki, would you take a look at our two aquanauts?" Virgil asked. "They were out in that water quite a while."

"F-A-B, Virgil," Nikki said cheerfully.

Dom sat down and put his head back. "That was one rough rescue. I'm glad we got everyone off safe, though."

"Very true, mate," Christopher said, "very true I'm proud to have worked with you."

"You can get out of my chair, now, CJ," Virgil said, giving his shoulder a small, friendly push.

"Hokey Cokey," Christopher said as he got out. "Not a scratch, as you can see."

"All the better for you!" Tin-Tin said with a grin.

"I know!" Christopher strapped himself in one of the passenger seats. He looked over at Tin-Tin. "Thanks for that chat earlier."
Tin-Tin said nothing, just gave him a bright smile. Christopher reached across to take her hand, but he thought better of it.

"There goes Alan, on his way to New York," Virgil said as he powered up the green beetle. "Let's go home, people."

Post by TheWrongTrousers and Tikatu on 21/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #660 is a reply to message #659] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Industries Washington DC offices, Monday, March 5th, 3PM

Lena sat back after she sent the email. There was nothing more she could do until she heard back from Mr. Hackenbacker. Might as well catch up on what's been happening in de world, she thought as she brought up the CNN website. She checked the local news first, then the national and finally the world. That's when she saw the story about the North Sea rescue work being done by International Rescue. She started to read the story when her phone rang.

"Mrs. Matumbo," she heard as soon as she answered, "What is being done about the email problem? It's been several hours since you sent the message."

"Mr. Wilson," she replied evenly, although she didn't care much for this man, "de problem has been traced to a location outside of dis complex. I have sent an email to someone I believe can work on de trouble at de source and am waiting for a reply from dat person."

"Not good enough. This needs to be resolved immediately. Immediately, do you hear me?" The man's authoritative voice boomed so loudly, she had to move the receiver well away from her head.

I hear you. Probably most of de people on dis floor can hear you. But she merely said, "Dat's not possible when de location of de server causing de trouble is not known to me. But it should be known to de person I'm contacting. I understand dat he is a high level Tracy employee."

"And who would that be?"

"Hiram Hackenbacker."

There was a long pause. "Oh. Well... I guess then that things will be corrected in a timely manner. But I'll expect to be informed the instant the problem is resolved. Do you understand?"

"Of course, sir. Everyone will be notified immediately."

"And Mrs. Matumbo, as I've told you before, the words are the, this and that."

Lena felt a spurt of anger rise, but quickly suppressed it. He was a vice president and it never helped to argue with the man, no matter how pompous he acted. She took a deep breath, and then an amusing thought occurred to her. She replied, "Tank you for de information, Mr. Wilson. I'll be sure to inform de French employees when I see dem. Excuse me, I have work to do. Good bye." And before he could say another word, she hung up and returned to the rescue story on her computer screen.

Post by Hobbeth on 21/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #661 is a reply to message #660] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 5, 2068, 3:10 p.m. local time, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City

"Dad, Aye just called 'stand-down'," John told him through Scott's telecomm. "Thunderbird Two is headed back to base. Thunderbird One is headed back to New York. Doctor's orders. He'll be landing at the airport, so you might want to mention it to Ess...."

"Casualties?" Jeff asked quietly.

"None on our part. However, I think I've figured out how we 'lost' Bee there for a bit. His telecomm developed a short while rescuing a man who went overboard."

Jeff frowned. "How did that happen? I want a report on it as soon as debriefing is done!"

"I'll pass that on to base," John promised, running his hand through his blond locks. "No fatalities on the trawler either."

"Good news then, Jay. Sounds like our new recruits did themselves, and us, proud on this first rescue." Someone was knocking on Jeff's door. "Got to go, son. Someone's here. I'll talk to you, and to base, later."

"F-A-B," John said. "Signing off." His picture disappeared from the telecomm, and Jeff slid it under the blanket. An intern came in, frowning.

"Hey, Dad," Scott said with a jaunty wave. "Feeling better?"

"I see your heart rate has fallen back into a normal range," the intern said sternly. "I don't know what was getting you so agitated, but it had better not happen again. This could set back your recovery, Mr. Tracy."

"I'm sorry, Doctor. I'll try not to get so worked up again," Jeff said contritely.

"You see to it, Mr. Tracy," the doctor said. He shook a finger at Scott. "And you do what you can to keep him calm. Where is Doctor Tracy, anyway? She's usually here to keep this from happening."

"Really, Doctor. That's none of your business," Scott said, eyebrow raised.

"I suppose not," the young man admitted. He pointed at Jeff. "You get some rest."

Scott closed the door behind him. "What news on the rescue?" he asked as soon as he returned to Jeff's side. Jeff handed him his telecomm.

"To answer your question, Alan has called 'stand-down'. Virgil is headed back to the island, and Alan is flying here... with Dianne. He plans to land at the airport, so you might want to warn them he's coming. No casualties on either side, but Brandon was lost for a bit when he went after a man overboard and somehow lost his telecomm signal. Tin-Tin found both of them and picked them up, but we have to come up with a strategy so that this doesn't happen again."

"Right. I'll have a word with Brains about it," Scott said, putting his telecomm back on his wrist. "Right now, I'm going make arrangements at the airport for Thunderbird One and head there to wait for Alan. Make sure Mom is okay. I'll call you as soon as I see her."

"Good, son. I'll be waiting." As soon as his oldest had left, Jeff sat back against the bed, sighing mightily. His face revealed the exhaustion and the relief he felt now that he knew his family, and the new recruits, were safe and on their way home.

Post by Tikatu on 21/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #662 is a reply to message #661] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island; Tuesday, March 6th, 8:15AM

After he got the report from Thunderbird 5, Brains turned on the television again. Kat and Lisa, who had gone to the kitchen for a few minutes, returned just then, and they all caught the end of the news report on the rescue. "Once again," the news anchor was saying, "the rescue has been successful. The captain, who was washed overboard, along with a member of the rescue team, has been found and is being taken to the Excelsior. He will be helijetted to the naval base and transferred by ambulance to the hospital in Peterhead. All of the rescue team members are safe and accounted for. Once again, we owe our heartfelt thanks to International Rescue."

When they heard the news that the rescue team was safe and on their way back, Kat and Lisa hugged each other jubilantly. "They did it! I knew they would," Kat exclaimed. Then she felt the fatigue that had been pushed away for so long by the tension and worry. She started to sag.

"Easy, Kat," Lisa said. "I think you'd better go get some sleep. When they return, you may be needed to work on that winch. You need to be alert."

"Are you sure? I don't like to leave if you two are going to stay up."

"No, no. I'm going to try to catch some shuteye after I finish up here," Brains said. "You go on ahead. Lisa's right. I'll need you alert and ready to work this afternoon."

"And I'll go with you. I want to check on Joshua. He should be waking up about now, if he isn't already awake," Lisa added. The two women headed out of the lounge together, leaving Brains to finish his report.

When they reached Cliff House, Kat said, "If you don't mind, I'd like to take a peek at Joshua before I go to my apartment. He's so cute, but I've never seen him asleep."

"I don't mind a bit. But just a peek, then off you go to get some rest. You'll have a long day once the rescue team gets home, young lady," Lisa answered.

They went into Dominic's apartment and headed to Joshua's bedroom. Quietly Lisa opened the door and peered in. She choked slightly and turned with a humorous glint in her eyes. She whispered to Kat, "You have to see this!" and opened the door wider for the girl to look.

Joshua was awake, lying on his right side with the back of his head at the edge of his pillow. Facing him, with his head on the other side of the pillow, was Asterix. The two of them were just looking at each other. Joshua put out a hand and stroked Asterix's side. "Kitty," he said. The cat yawned and meowed at the same time.

Kat clapped her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing aloud, while Lisa walked over to the crib. "This is Asterix, Joshua. He came with Christopher, who is away right now but will be back soon and wonder where Asterix is." She looked at the cat. "We're going to have to figure out a way to keep tabs on you, if you're going to have the run of the place." The cat raised his head and looked at her for a few seconds, then yawned again. He put his head back on the pillow, and stretched, then closed his eyes and went to sleep.

Kat laughed and Joshua sat up and looked at her. "Hi, Joshua," she said, with a big smile on her face. Then she yawned. "I'd better go now, before I fall asleep where I stand. I'll see you later."

"Okay, Kat," Lisa replied. "Sleep well." As Kat left the apartment, the older woman turned back to the child and said, "Let's get you dressed. Then we'll see about getting you and Asterix some breakfast."

Post by Hobbeth on 21/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #663 is a reply to message #662] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island; Tuesday, March 6th, 8:20AM

As Lisa and Kat headed to Cliff House, Brains sat back and sighed in relief. It had been a difficult rescue, but the team performed well and was heading back to base, with the exception of Alan, who would drop Dianne off in New York before returning.

The new recruits did well, but we'd better get their training started right away, he thought as he rolled his head from side to side to relieve the tension in his neck. He glanced at the clock and thought about getting a few hours sleep, but decided to check his email first. He logged off of the computer at Jeff's desk, after saving the report and went to his office.

When he clicked on his mailbox, he saw the priority code on the email from LMatumbo. He opened and read it. Moments later, all thoughts of sleep disappeared when he read the words "some of the emails contain what appears to be highly sensitive information." Oh no! he thought. Could that mean what I think it does? I'd better run a diagnostic on both of the servers here immediately!

He started a diagnostic on the regular server, then went to another terminal and logged into the IR one and started a diagnostic on it. He knew it would take about half an hour for both diagnostics to complete, so he decided to go to the kitchen and get some coffee and whatever he could grab to munch on. He found that Lisa had coffee already made, and a plate of baked goods and another of fruit was ready and waiting for the team when they returned. He proceeded to make himself a tray of food and coffee, adding the necessary utensils to it.

Brains took the tray and went back to his office. He put it down on the only cleared surface in the room and pulled a stool over, after checking the progress of the diagnostics. He was munching on the bagel when the first computer signaled completion of the task. He pulled up the report and stared at the screen, stunned.

The servers have become linked! How could that happen? I wrote a program to prevent just that kind of thing. The second computer chimed and he hurried over to it. He pulled up the report and blanched at the information he saw. Then he printed out copies of both reports and sat down to compare them.

An hour later, the food and coffee gone, he sat back, distressed at what he'd found. The program he'd written, which was to block anyone using the IR server from accessing non-IR files or mailboxes had deteriorated somehow. It was now allowing users to go into their personal mailboxes from it; apparently someone had done so. He was feeling overwhelmed, not up to working on this, too. I wonder if we could have Ms. Matumbo come here and do the repair work? I'd better check on her credentials and do a background check on her.

He went to his personal computer and called up her files through Tracy Industries. It had comprehensive information, but he knew he'd need more. So he got to work, figuring he'd better have a complete report when he called New York to get authorization to have the woman brought to Tracy Island.

Post by Hobbeth on 21/08/2004

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Re: Learning The Ropes [message #664 is a reply to message #663] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 5, 2068, 8:45 p.m., Peterhead Community Hospital, Peterhead, Scotland

Tommy Brennan opened his heavy eyelids slowly. His vision focused and he blinked. Looking down at him was his own sweet Mary, smiling through her tears.

"Oh, thank God! Thank God you're all right!" she whispered, trying hard to control her emotions as her eyes roamed his face.

He sighed, looking at his surroundings. He was in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV. His right hand was set in a lightweight cast, as was his right leg. Surprisingly, he felt no pain. His gaze returned to Mary.


"You're in hospital, Tom-love."

"The crew? The skipper?"

"All safe. Captain Bowers is in hospital, too; he went overboard, but International Rescue saved him."

She brushed back his dark hair, and a fragment of memory surfaced with the familiar gesture.

"'Tis just as she said," he whispered.

Mary gave him a puzzled look. "As who said?"

"Doc. Their doctor. She brushed my hair back, like you just did, and said, that when I woke up, I'd be in hospital and everything would be all right." He smiled up at her. "I wondered if I'd ever see you and the baby again. I was afraid I was going to die. But she said it would be all right. And... it is."

Mary leaned over to kiss him, on the forehead, on the cheek, then on the lips. "Thank God she was right."

"Wish I could have thanked her; thanked all of them for what they did," Tommy said quietly, reaching up to stroke her face with his undamaged hand. He laid his hand on her cheek, and she leaned into it, putting her hand over his.

"Maybe someday you'll have a chance, Tom-love. But right now,
I'm going to call the sister. The hospital doctor will want to see you."

Tom took her hand and pulled it to his face, placing a kiss in her palm and wrapping her fingers over it. She smiled back as she pressed the call button. Tom kept hold of her hand, savoring the warmth of it and the love and life it represented. He knew how close to death he had been and would never take life for granted ever again.

Post by MagicMaster8 and Tikatu on 20/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #665 is a reply to message #664] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Thunderbird One and its two passengers were well on their way to New York. Both weary and hungry, they traveled in relative silence. There wasn't much to say that already hadn't been said. The rescue was a success, even though there were tense moments.

Everyone had pulled together as a team, and now they were heading home. "Alan?" Dianne noticed the young pilot seemed to be far away from the present.

"Hmm?" came his reply.

"I asked if you were okay. You're very quiet."

"Sure, Mom, I'm okay. Just tired, I guess, from the rescue. You know, even though I was at Mobile Control, I feel as stressed and worn out as I do when I'm actually out in the field."

"I'm sure you do. It's not easy being Field Commander. Scott makes it look that way, but I'm sure you'll appreciate him more than ever now, won't you?"

Alan looked at his stepmother who was smiling at him. "Oh yeah! He can have this gig anytime!"

Dianne chuckled and leaned back in her seat. Her eyes heavy, she finally gave in and let herself fall asleep.

Alan had already talked to base and Thunderbird 2, and hearing Gordon and Virgil sound more like his normal brothers, he felt relieved. Feeling his mind drifting again, Alan thought back on this whole rescue from the moment Virgil had told him he was to fly his eldest brother's most precious commodity! As soon as the words had left Virgil's mouth, that he was to fly TB1, Alan had felt an knot in his stomach; not a large one, but just big enough to be annoying.

Leaving Scott behind in New York and flying off in TB1 had not been one of his finer moments as an International Rescue operative, and the thought of going on another rig rescue brought back memories that were none too pleasant. He remembered the looks from the rig crew as he set up Mobile Control, and then sat there waiting for TB2. Alan had felt uncomfortable just sitting there. He was so used to being with Virgil or Gordon and in the thick of it at the Danger Zone. Not this time though. No, this time he had to sit... and wait. He had rubbed his eyes, hoping that he wouldn't get a nasty headache, and then his stomach had growled, reminding him that the last thing he'd eaten was the bagel and coffee that Dianne had brought him when he'd picked her up in New York. To think that he'd actually enjoyed being Field Commander at that point made Alan laugh.

Man! How does Scott stand this rescue after rescue? He recalled sitting at the controls, drumming his fingers, waiting... waiting for someone to do or say something! The not knowing got to Alan more than he was prepared for. He was too antsy and wanted to just jump off the rig and go help. Once TB2 had arrived, things improved... or so Alan had thought. The pregnant silence on the other end of the radio was not expected.

He'd cleared his plan of action with Brains and thought it was great... until he passed it on to Virgil and Gordon. The sound of Gordon's voice asking him if he was crazy stung him then, and it still stung even now, when he thought about it. Gordon was his closest sibling, and it had really hurt to hear him question his own brother's sanity. Virgil's angry tone hadn't made him feel any better either. Still, being the stubborn Tracy that he was, Alan Tracy, Field Commander, was determined to see his plan through and wouldn't budge.

When Gordon had called him from TB4 for coordinates, Alan had given them and even asked if they were all okay, and Gordon had replied with contempt in his voice. Normally Alan would have called him on it, but being the fearless leader at this point, he'd kept his mouth shut. As the rescue had progressed, he'd kept contact with TB2, TB4, the Saucy Lady, and John in TB5.

He'd managed to keep all transmissions accurate and realised what a level head you have to have in order to make things run smoothly. He knew now that Scott did so much more than sit around and bark orders to everyone. Scott kept the entire show running, hopefully without glitches... and it wasn't easy.

Alan's mind came back to the present. Glancing at the controls, he was pleased to see everything was still running like clockwork. When they landed in New York, he decided that not only was he going to tell Scott he could have his job back, he was going to tell him how much he appreciated him and hadn't known how important Mobile Control was to a rescue. It was the core of the entire operation and without... without Scott, the team would fail. He might be the youngest Tracy son, but he knew deep down that he'd grown up a lot faster today than any of his brothers had done. Stirrings from behind him brought him back to the present.

"Did you enjoy your nap, Mom?"

"Mmmm... Yes I did! I'm going to enjoy myself more when I see your father again, though."

Alan smiled, "Yep, Dad is definitely going to be relieved that this one is over, and so is Scott!"

This time they both laughed. Scott was ready and waiting for them when Thunderbird One touched down. Scott was actually quite taken back with Alan's smooth landing. Dianne was the first out of the craft and she ran over to Scott, and with a quick hug, immediately asked "How's Jeff? Is he okay? Does he know how the rescue went?"

"Yes, yes, and yes!" Scott answered, smiling.

Alan walked up to the two of them. "Hey Squirt! Glad to see you brought my machine back in one piece!"

"Did you honestly think I wouldn't?" Alan smirked.

Scott shot him a look that confirmed what Alan was thinking.

"Well, let's get you to the penthouse to change and then off to see Dad!" Scott and Dianne started towards the cab.

"Scott?" Scott turned back to his brother.

"What's up, Al?"

"Thanks," was all Alan said. He smiled, then turned and headed back inside TB1.

"Thanks for what?" asked Scott, puzzled.

"I think he's trying to say he's thankful for who you are, and what you are to this organization," came Dianne's reply. Scott looked back and watched his Thunderbird take off, making a mental note to talk to Alan more when they got back home.

Post by FrankieCTB2 on 22/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #666 is a reply to message #665] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 5th, 2068, 4:45PM; Tracy Industries Washington D.C. offices

Lena was finishing up for the day and wondering why she hadn't heard from Mr. Hackenbacker yet, when her computer indicated a priority email had just arrived. She quickly saved her work and opened the window. The email was brief and to the point:

"Mrs. Matumbo, the cause of the problem has been found. However it is essential that I speak with you immediately. Please call the number below as soon as you get this.

Hiram Hackenbacker"

She found the number and picked up the phone. She heard only one ring before the call was answered. "Mrs. Matumbo?"

"Yes. Mr. Hackenbacker?"

"That is correct. I'll get right to the point. I need you to come here. How soon can you be ready?

"What? Tonight? I can't just . . ."

"Mrs. Matumbo, I have several priority projects on my plate already. I need help. More specifically, I need your help. I've already spoken to Mr. Tracy and gotten authorization to bring you here. Will you come?"

Lena was silent for a moment, stunned. Then she sighed and, checking her calendar, said, "I suppose so. Dere's notting scheduled for de next few days, and I don't have any personal appointments. So I suppose I can get away for a bit."

"You'll probably be here for about a week, Mrs. Matumbo. And I suggest you pack warm weather clothes. We'll have a car pick you up at your home at 7:30 and take you to the airport."

"Warm weadder? Where am I going?"

"You'll see. The Tracy home is not where most people think it is. I suggest you get started. You don't have much time. I look forward to meeting you. I've used some of the programs you've developed in my own work."

"Tank you, Mr. Hackenbacker. I look forward to meeting you, too," she replied. The call was disconnected and she sat back in her chair, still stunned. She couldn't believe the conversation she'd just had. Finally, she looked at the clock and noticed the time.


She quickly got up and hurried out to where her staff was. They were finishing up, getting ready to leave. She called for their attention.

"I have just been summoned away on company business related to de glitch I found dis morning. I'm leaving tonight and I've been told I'll probably be gone a week. So, if dere's any management decisions to be made, Tom, who has seniority and de wisdom, I hope," she winked at him, "to make de right ones, is in charge. If he is away, den Louise will help. If anyone comes looking for me, tell dem what I've told you. I know you all will do your jobs just as well as if I was here, so I'm not worried. Oh, Tom, Mr. Wilson may be pestering dis department about de glitch. Just tell him I've been requested to work wit Mr. Hackenbacker on de problem. Dat should shut him up, I tink."

She grinned and everyone laughed. They wished her a safe trip and she went back to her office to finish up. Ten minutes later, she was on her way to her car to head home, pack and head out to who knew where.

Post by Hobbeth on 22/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #667 is a reply to message #666] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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The car arrived promptly at 7:30 and Lena was ready. She had rushed to call her children and grandchildren and get packed, and she felt that she'd forgotten several things she'd need. As the driver put her bags in the trunk, she mentally went over her list, but couldn't think of anything. The driver opened the door and she got in. Moments later, they were off to the airport, a mere twenty minute drive away.

Scott waited in the VIP terminal, looking at his watch. His father's decision to send him in a corporate jet to pick up Lena Matumbo had caught him off-guard, and he was not happy about being a passenger and not the pilot. He could hardly wait until they got to LA, where they would refuel and where Scott would take over as pilot for the rest of the journey.

The car pulled up to the terminal, and Lena waited for the driver to get her bags, then followed him inside. She looked around and spotted a young man, who was walking toward her.

"Mrs. Matumbo?"

"Yes, I'm Lena Matumbo. And you are . . ."

"Scott Tracy," he replied, putting his hand out. She took it, and then he said, "We'll be ready to leave in just a few minutes. It will be a long trip."

"A long trip to where?"

"The South Pacific," he replied as he picked up her bags and walked toward the door to the tarmac."

"The S . . Are you telling me dat we're going dere in dat little plane out dere?"

Scott smiled. "Yes, ma'am, we are. We'll refuel in Los Angeles and have a stretch, then I'll take over as pilot." He guided her over to the gangway and offered his hand to help her inside. "This is the way our family gets around, Mrs. Matumbo. It's quite routine for us."

She took his hand and climbed up inside. She slowly made her way into the body of the plane, looking around. "Dis is what you call routine. It's impressive."

"Thank you," he replied as he stowed her bags away. "Take a seat anywhere. I'm going up to the cockpit to sit in the co-pilot's seat."

"Now wait a minute, young man. When was de last time you slept? I know about de rescue in de Nort Sea."

"Mrs. Matumbo," Scott said very softly. "I am aware of your knowledge of our 'family business' as it were, however, our pilot is from Tracy Industries and doesn't have that knowledge. For the record, I wasn't involved in that operation; I was needed in New York." He smiled. "But I'll admit it's been a long day for me."

"You don't have to worry. I can see dat de door to de cockpit is closed and he can't hear me. But if you've had a long day, you should rest. I don't want to crash in de Pacific because de pilot fell asleep at de controls. And I don't tink you'd get any sleep dere. Do you?"

Scott chuckled. "You're probably right, Mrs. Matumbo. I'll get some rest back here. Would you like anything to eat or drink before I try to catch a few winks?"

Lena started to shake her head, then felt a quiet rumble in the area of her stomach. "Oh my goodness!" she exclaimed. "I was so rushed, calling my babies and my grandbabies dat I forgot to eat!" She smiled. "Yes, I would like someting. Whatever you have. Tank you."

Scott went back to the generous galley and came back with a thick roast beef sandwich and a soft drink, with pretzels on the side. Lena noticed that he brought out the same for himself. "I was in a rush myself this evening, Mrs. Matumbo," he said as he sat across the aisle from her in the comfortable captain's style chair.

"Dis is perfect," she said, as they tapped their drink glasses. "I knew I'd forgotten someting, but couldn't remember what it was." She chuckled. "I never tought I'd see de day when I'd forget to eat!"

She and Scott both laughed, then settled down to eat in a companionable silence.

When they had finished eating, Scott removed Lena's tray but left the glass in case she was still thirsty. He looked at his watch. "I guess I can catch a nap for an hour or maybe two at the most. Our ETA at LAX will be around seven p.m. Pacific time." He got a blanket from a bin above his head. "Do you need anything else, Mrs. Matumbo?"

She reached into the large bag she'd carried on board with her and drew out some crocheting. "No, tank you, young man. I have my needlework to relax me and a full stomach. What more could I want? You get some sleep. I can sleep when I know you have rested."

Scott smiled at her and settled back in his seat. He moved the seat into a reclining position and covered himself with the blanket. Moments later, he was sleeping soundly.

Lena looked at him, resisting the impulse to go over and stroke the hair from his forehead, as she had done to her son and grandsons hundreds of times. She smiled to herself and concentrated on her crocheting.

It seemed just a few moments before the pilot was signaling their approach to LAX. Scott woke with a start, shook his head, rubbed his eyes and stretched. He looked over at his fellow passenger. "How has the flight been, Mrs. Matumbo?"

"Very smooth, and very quick," she replied, putting her needlework away. "You have a fast jet. How do you feel?"

"Much more rested, thank you," Scott replied. "I'm not used to being a passenger, though, so I'm glad I slept through the majority of the flight. Kept me from getting antsy."

"Good," she said, smiling. "Den I feel better, too. How long will we be here in LA? I need to call my son. He was very upset to know dat I didn't know where I was going. I won't tell him our final destination, but I want to reassure him dat I'm not being abducted."

Scott chuckled. "With refueling and flight checks, we should be here for an hour at least, perhaps a little longer. Feel free to move around, climb out, and make that phone call."

The pilot announced that they were about to land and they fastened their seatbelts and waited. Soon they were on the ground, taxiing toward the terminal.

"Oh, heavens! Where is my mind?" Lena exclaimed. "Wit all dis rushing about I forgot to ask about your fadder. How is he?"

"He's much better, thank you. He'll be out of the hospital and coming home soon," Scott replied.

"Dat's good. No place like home to heal."

"Very true, ma'am, very true."

The jet came to a stop outside the Tracy Industries hangar. "We have a small waiting room inside the hangar where you can stretch and make your call while I see to the jet, Mrs. Matumbo," Scott explained as he helped her out of the plane. "It won't be too long before we're on our way again."

"Tank you. I won't be long." She headed inside and went to the first available phone and placed the call. A few minutes later, Scott walked in to see how she was doing, and heard her talking to her son.

"Don't you sass me, young man. You may be a grandfadder, but I'm still your motter and you show some respect. I'll be home when I get home and dat's all dere is to dat. You call your sister and tell her what I told you. Your children have more sense. Dey tink it's terrific dat I'm having an adventure, as your son put it. If I can get in touch wit you from where I'm going, I will. But until den, stop worrying. I'm fine."

Scott smiled. She reminded him of his own grandmother. Actually, both of his grandmothers, natural and 'step'. I'd catch it hot from Grandma P. if she ever caught me thinking of her as a 'stepgrandmother'. As far as she's concerned, there's no distinction. He called to Lena. "We're just about ready, Mrs. Matumbo."

Lena turned and nodded at him to show she'd heard. "Now, I have to go." She then said something Scott didn't understand, and hung up. She walked over to him. "You'd tink I was old and feeble, de way he was carrying on. Well, let's go. I've got a computer glitch to fix."

"You? Old and feeble? Not from what I've seen," Scott said with a grin as he handed her back up into the plane. "This time, why don't we both sit in the cockpit? You can elbow me if I start dozing off... just like my own grandmothers would do." He winked at her and preceded her into the control cabin.

She laughed, and then asked, "Would it be permissible if I brought my bag with me? If I have my crocheting wit me, I won't be asking you a lot of silly questions."

"Not at all. Feel free to do so," he replied. She retrieved her bag and sat down, placing it out of the way at her side. She looked up at him, a twinkle in her eye.

"I'm ready to go," she said.

"Then let's go." Scott asked for permission to take off, received permission (once the jet came to the front of the small line of private jets waiting for a clear runway) and within a few moments, they were once again airborne.

Post by Hobbeth and Tikatu on 24/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #669 is a reply to message #667] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday March 6th. 1.00pm. Tracy Island.

Tiredness was completely ignored as Dominic strode through the lounge, nodding to the curious people that regarded him with cocked eyebrows. He needed to know. He speedily made his way through the villa, keeping his eyes and ears open for sounds that would lead him to his goal. He just needed to know. He already knew; but he needed to know, in person, himself. He was busy berating himself for being such a worrywart, when his ears caught a sound. It was a very familiar, very welcome sound, indeed. He sped up his pace, and walked down to the kitchen.

He knew the smile on his face was a tremulous parody, something that was a result of worry, fatigue and self-annoyance. He would trust the people of Tracy Island with his life. He would just have to learn to trust them with a certain other life, as well. You'll be no good if you can't get over this. You feckin' eejit, ye.

Two grinning faces greeted him as he walked into the bright, clean room, and he automatically held out his arms to scoop the young child out of Lisa's capable hands.

"Here you are, sweetie. Daddy's home." She handed Joshua over, and grinned as Dominic held the child in a close cuddle. "He was missing his dad especially for the last hour, especially. He was fine up until then, though."

Joshua grabbed a fistful of his father's dark hair as he was released, and began to twine the strands around his fingers. Dominic held him securely in one arm and rested his other hand on a kitchen counter.

"He's used to me not being around in the mornings," he explained. "I used to work nights and mornings, you see. Then I was around all afternoon till bedtime."

"Ah, I see."

"Did he sleep well?"

"Like an angel." Lisa chuckled. "And he's made a new friend in young Asterisk, let me tell you."

She explained the scene she and Kat had seen, and Dom grinned. Joshua started to clamour and wanted to be let down. Dominic set him down, and he climbed under the kitchen table, intent on exploring. Dom ran a hand through his hair and slumped back against the counter. He took off his glasses and gave them a futile wipe with the hem of his red t-shirt, and sighed. Lisa regarded him curiously.

"What's up?" she asked plainly.

"Hmm? Oh, it's nothing." Dominic replaced his glasses. "I'm just going to have to get used to leaving him here. Not that I don't trust you," he added hastily.

Lisa held up a calming hand.

"I know what you mean. It takes a while to get used to someone new looking after your pride and joy. But you'll soon realize that everyone here on the island is going to want to chip in and help. And you'll get used to it, I know."

"I know. Thanks, Mrs Parkhurst."

"Oh, call me Lisa." She chuckled again. "He's a real cutie."
Dominic stooped over as he son beckoned him under the table and grinned.

"I can't think of my life without him."

Post by ArtisticRainey on 24/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #670 is a reply to message #669] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Monday, March 5th, 2068, 6:45 p.m., Mt. Sinai Hospital, NYC

Jeff was getting antsy. It had been two hours; two long hours since Dianne had touched down in New York. He had seen her briefly when he called Scott about Brains's dilemma and sent him off to pick up Lena Matumbo in one of the corporate jets. She had assured him that she was fine and that she would be out to see him as soon as possible. He had been offered dinner by the staff and had declined, expecting his wife to bring him something tantalizing from Kyrano's kitchen. But more important was the lady herself. He had missed her terribly, even with his mother and children to keep him company.

He started at a timid knocking on the door. That's not Dianne; she doesn't knock here. Just breezes in as if she owns the place. He called out, "Come in."

A pudgy blonde with a hesitant smile peeked around the door. Obviously satisfied with what she saw, she pushed the door open further and entered, followed by a dark young man carrying a briefcase. She held out her hand as she approached.

"Mr. Tracy, I'm told you might not remember me, but we've met before. I'm Charmaine Sellars, and this is Dalmar Freeman, of Burton, Bauer, Beers, and Simmons." Jeff shook her hand briefly.

The young man held out his hand, too. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Tracy." Jeff took it and was impressed by the firm grip

"I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get to you, Mr. Tracy. You would not believe the hoops I had to jump through to gain access to your floor," Charmaine told him. She began pulling papers out of her own briefcase.

"I'm sorry, but if you're reporters, I have no comments to make at all on my accident," Jeff responded, slightly confused.

Charmaine looked at him with widened eyes. "Oh, no, Mr. Tracy! We're not reporters! I'm your realtor!"

"My... realtor?"

"Well, yes! I'm the realtor who was brokering the deal between you and the Taylors for that little cottage up in New Hampshire. The one you went to visit when you had your... accident." Charmaine's voice trailed off as she saw the blank look on Jeff's face.

"I was going to buy a cottage in New Hampshire?" he asked tentatively.

"Actually, you did purchase it. I got the upload of your purchase agreement that afternoon. Mr. Freeman and I are here to complete the transaction. The Taylors are going out of the country next week and would like things all settled before they go." She pulled out some pictures of the cottage, inside and outside.

Jeff frowned as he looked at them, then recognition flitted across this face. He paled as suddenly the memories came pouring in. The ride to Black Mountain in the helijet. The drive up to the cottage with Elise. Her enthusiasm as they explored the place. The drive back down. Sitting in the back of the helijet signing the papers. The storm coming up, fast and furious. Elise's desperate attempts to keep them in the air. Her sharp shout as he got up to try and help her. The sensation of falling and his last thoughts before all became dark.

He drew in a sharp breath, and Charmaine gazed at him, alarmed. "Mr. Tracy? Are you all right?"

"We can do this some other time, Mr. Tracy, if now is inconvenient," Delmar added, concern in his voice.

Jeff swallowed and took a deep breath, shaking his head as he tried to regain his composure. He sat up straighter, and took another deep breath. His face regained some color and he said, "No, let's do this now."

"Are you sure, Mr. Tracy?" Delmar asked.

Jeff nodded. "Yes. I'm sure. It was just a bit of a shock, that's all. I'll be fine." Delmar and Charmaine looked at each other, then Delmar pulled a laptop computer out of his briefcase, while Charmaine extracted an electronic notepad from hers. Setting up the computer, Delmar began to upload various legal papers to the notepad for Jeff to sign.

Post by Tikatu on 25/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #671 is a reply to message #670] Tue, 24 July 2012 17:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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In the midst of all this, Dianne walked in. She looked around, puzzled, and noticed Jeff's still pale face. But she smiled as she asked, "What's all this?"

Jeff smiled at her, and beckoned her closer. He introduced Charmaine and Delmar, then handed her the photos of the cottage. She handed him a package from Kyrano, and helped him open it up, then she thumbed through the pictures, smiling as she did.

"What a lovely cottage!" she exclaimed. "Whose is it?"

Jeff reached out to take her hand in his good one. "It's... yours."

Dianne gasped, her eyes widening in disbelief. "Jeff! You bought this... for me?"

"Yes, Dianne, I did," Jeff said softly, his face now very serious. "It was supposed to be a... late... Valentine's gift."

Delmar and Charmaine exchanged glances, and stopped what they were doing. Delmar nodded and he and Charmaine left the room, their equipment awaiting their return. They realized that this was a very private moment between husband and wife.

Dianne put a hand over her mouth as she realized the implications of what Jeff had just told her. Tears sprang to her eyes. "This... this is why you went to New Hampshire? To buy this? Everything you've gone through, everything we've gone through, all because of a... vacation cottage?"

Jeff pulled her hand up to his lips, drawing her closer to him. He let go of her hand and put his in her hair. "Oh, Dianne! I hoped you would like the place, that you would make it your home. It would be a retreat for just the two of us. I didn't let you know where I was going because it was supposed to be a surprise. There was no way on earth that I could have anticipated what would happen, dearest. No way that Elise could have either."

"But... but now I feel like I'm to blame for this whole... mess!" Dianne cried, the tears beginning to fall. "If we...."

"Stop right there, Dianne Tracy," Jeff said sternly. "You are the best thing that has happened to me in twenty years. As horrible as this accident was for me and for our family, I wouldn't go back and erase it, not if it meant you weren't in my life. Don't you ever blame yourself for what happened. It was an accident, plain and simple. It could have happened anywhere at any time and for any reason." His voice softened as he pulled her even closer so that their foreheads touched and they were eye-to-eye. "If anyone is to blame, it's me. I was the one who got out of my seat even though Elise warned me not to...."

"Wait!" Dianne said suddenly, confused. "You sound as if you... remember."

Jeff sighed. "Yes, love, I remember now; at least enough to piece together what happened. The pictures of the cottage brought it rushing back to me." He kissed her nose. "I don't have any memory of what you and the boys did when you rescued us. I probably never will. But now I know how I got into this condition," he raised his casted arm, "and that bit of my life has been given back to me." He kissed her lips, and she closed her eyes. "Now, despite everything that happened, I am going through with this purchase. If anything, it will remind us, every time we go there, just what we have together and how precious it is. My question is: can you, will you, accept this gift? Accept it as a token, a very small token, of all the love I have for you?"

Dianne opened her eyes and saw the questioning, hopeful look in his gaze. Her self-recrimination ceased and her heart melted as she considered the full meaning of his gift. She draped her arms around his neck and brought her lips to his. "Oh, Jeff! I love you so much! Yes... yes, I accept this gift. It's a lovely cottage, and I thank you for thinking of me like this. And every time we go there, I will just be thankful that I still have you beside me."

Jeff smiled, and they kissed again, and then parted. "Please ask Ms. Sellars and Mr. Freeman to come back in, dear heart. I think I have some more forms to sign."

Post by Tikatu on 25/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #672 is a reply to message #671] Tue, 24 July 2012 18:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2068, 7:05 p.m. Tracy Island Villa

"So, is there anything else we need to cover?" Virgil asked. He looked around the lounge at his team. Lisa had provided an early supper around six o'clock, and at seven, the debriefing had started. Usually, the crew would debrief right after a rescue, sometimes around the dinner table. But with the way Brandon and Gordon looked and felt after their time in the water, Virgil had decided on a different tack. He ordered rest for everyone until supper, then they would debrief with clearer minds and full stomachs. It also allowed for Dianne to see her husband and get some food and rest before the debriefing as well.

Too bad we couldn't do this at a more convenient time for everyone, Virgil thought. It's two a.m. out there in New York!

John piped up from his portrait on the wall. "There has to be a way for us to track each individual team member without using the telecomms. I mean, the medical staff doesn't even use them during their work and there are no trackers built into the hands-free sets."

"True," Dianne added wearily. "We can't use the telecomms while we work. There's too much risk of contamination."

"And I hope to do away with the telecomms during rescues altogether," Brains said as he made notes on his PDA. "Hands-free communication will be part of the visors I'm working on. The Heads Up Displays will count on being plugged into the wireless earbud units." That's another thing on my plate, but first I need to get this glitch found and resolved!

"Hmm. Any ideas on how we could do it?" Virgil asked. Tin-Tin and Brains looked at each other, but it was Nikki who spoke up.

"In England, a lot of families are resorting to tiny computer chips so that they can track their children's whereabouts if something bad should happen. Three children that I know of have been found through the aid of the chips," she told the assembly. "Would that be a viable option for us?"

Dianne looked thoughtful. "I remember reading about those. They're an offshoot of the technology that pet owners used to identify their animals back in the early part of the century."

Tin-Tin nodded. "I read about them, too, and was thinking it would be good to add them to the new uniforms as a tracker. They are very miniaturized now and totally safe, from what I've read."

"But putting them in the uniforms gives us the same problem as the telecomms," Brandon argued. "If we lose whatever piece of clothing holds the tracker, then we're 'lost' to Thunderbird Five's scanners."

"Or, the clothing isn't, but the person is," Callie added. She frowned. "The only way I see we can make full use of these... locator chips... is to implant them." She shuddered. "I don't know if I like that idea. Too much chance for an allergic reaction, I'd think."

"Brains, can you look into them in tandem with Nikki, since she brought them up?" Virgil asked. "I need some more data to be able to present the idea to Father."

Brains sighed inaudibly, but nodded, and added the item to his growing list of tasks.

Virgil surveyed the room again. "Anything else?"

"Code names," John said again.

"Oh, yes!" Christopher agreed. "I don't mind being called CJ once in a while, but I'd rather not be called that all the time. It was a childhood nickname and doesn't always conjure up fond memories, if you understand."

"Right. With two people whose name begins with C...." Virgil began.

Dianne interrupted, "Three, Virgil. Remember, we have code names for the children as well."

"Oh, yeah. Three people. And two whose names begin with D as well," Virgil continued, "we can't keep using the first initials for code names. Any suggestions for replacements?"

"Hmm," Alan hummed. He brightened. "How about something with middle names? Use the initials combined?"

"No, Alan!" John said, wincing. "Callie and I thought about that. Her initials are C-L, which sounds like 'seal'. Just think of what your initials would sound like run together."

"Ay-ess," Alan said slowly. Then he turned red as people around him chucked or grinned. "Oh, I get it." He raised his voice. "I agree with John. It's not the best idea."

"How about using the middle names or a portion of them?" Kat asked. She was sitting in on the debriefing much as Brains was, to determine what she would need to do for maintenance.

"That might work," Dominic agreed. "If we used, say, the first syllable or the first few letters." He looked bemused. "Means my code name would be 'Aid' for Aidan."

"And mine would be 'Ash' for Ashley," Nikki pointed out.

Gordon began to laugh. "Mine would be 'Coo' or 'Coop', depending on how many letters we used." He looked over at Virgil. "Yours would probably be 'Gri' or more likely 'Gris'! And Scott? 'Car' or 'Carp'!" He began to guffaw. "And Alan's? Try 'Shep'! Here boy!"

The rest of the room joined in the laughter, as they began to try out different names.

"Mine would be 'Lou' or even 'Louie'," Callie said. "Hmm. I kinda like 'Louie'."

"Mom, what would yours be?" Gordon asked, wiping his eyes. "I don't remember your middle name."

Dianne glared at him. "Doc," she said succinctly.

"Oh, come on, Mom!" Alan coaxed, grinning. "Tell us!"

"What would you call your father?" she asked in return. That brought Alan up short, but Gordon howled some more and fell on the floor.

"Obviously, this isn't going to work," Virgil said drily. "Let's come up with something else."

"Well perhaps each person should come up with their own," Dominic suggested. "I'd use Dak; it's a nickname my family uses with me."

"And I'd be 'Big Mac'," Brandon said. "Some of my old WASP buddies gave me that years ago."

"I like Louie," Callie added. "I think I'll use that."

"We should still use the names Thunderbird One, Two and so forth when speaking to the pilots of the craft," Christopher said. "It's far more military and precise."

"What would you choose as a personal code name?" Nikki asked.

"I think I'd use... Asterix," Christopher said. "Speaking of which, has anybody seen him? I lost track of the little bugger a day or more ago."

"Oh!" Dominic replied. "Lisa told me she found him sleeping with Joshua! She put him back in your apartment."

Christopher smiled with relief. "I'm so glad! I missed that furball."

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves here," Virgil reminded them. "All of this will have to be okayed by Dad, you know." He paused. "Let's come up with a list of code names and I'll submit it to him for approval. Now, is there anything else?" He looked at Dianne's picture. She was noticeably wilting. "We have someone here who should be in bed."

"I think we're through, Virgil," Brains said. "Besides, I need to get ready for the arrival of Mrs. Matumbo."

"Right. I think we're done, too," Virgil agreed. "This debriefing is over." The others nodded, and began to get up.

Virgil turned to Dianne again. "Goodnight, Mom. Get some sleep. Give our love to Dad."

Dianne nodded. "Goodnight, Virgil." Her picture winked out. Virgil stretched and yawned. It was time for him to sleep, too.

Dianne rubbed her eyes and went to her bed. She laid down, but sleep took its time coming. The scene from the hospital earlier that day played through her mind again and again. She put her fingers up to her lips where Jeff had kissed her, and her memories of other kisses, and the pleasure that followed, made the lack of Jeff's presence in their bed hurt with an almost physical pain. She hugged his pillow, tears coming to her eyes again.

He's got to come home soon!

Post by Tikatu on 28/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #673 is a reply to message #672] Tue, 24 July 2012 18:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island; Tuesday, March 6th; 9PM

The plane landed and a tired Scott, carrying Lena's suitcase, helped an equally tired Lena - carrying the other bag as well as her needlework bag - out. Lisa hurried over to greet them, followed by Brains.

"Scott. Welcome home. How is your father?" She reached up to give him a hug.

"He's doing well, Grandma P. He should be coming home, soon." He let her go and turned to Lena. "Lena Matumbo, I'd like you to meet Lisa Parkhurst, or as my brothers and I call her, Grandma P."

The two women shook hands. "I am pleased to meet you, Mrs. Parkhurst."

"Please call me Lisa."

"Den you must call me Lena."

"And I'm Hiram Hackenbacker, but here, I'm called Brains."

Lena turned to the bespectacled man who had summoned her here to the island. She liked what she saw. He looked capable and intelligent. She felt they would be able to work well together.

"A real time saver. Short and to the point. I'm happy to meet you, Brains. Now, about dis glitch . . . "

"No, no work tonight. You and Scott are tired and need to rest before you start anything else," Lisa interrupted. She took both Scott and Lena by the arm and started for the house. "Unless you're hungry. Would you like something to eat?"

"Thanks, Grandma P, but Lena made us something to eat on the way over from LA. We're fine, or will be once we've had a good night's sleep."

"Of course, of course," she replied quickly as they entered the house. "You put that suitcase down, Scott. Brains wants to take Lena to her room and he'll take it as well."

Scott was very willing to do so, and he turned to Lena. "You get a good night's sleep, Mrs. Matumbo. I'll see you tomorrow. Thank you for your companionship during the flight."

She smiled. "You're welcome, Scott. You sleep well."

"I'll see you in the morning, Lena," Lisa said. "Brains, don't keep her up, talking shop." She turned to Scott. "I'm going to make sure you get to your bedroom without falling to sleep on the way."

"Yes, Mrs. Parkhurst." Brains picked up the suitcase and turned to Lena. "If you'll follow me, I'll take you to your room. We can get started in the morning, when you've rested and had a good breakfast."

"Tank you, Brains," she replied as she followed him. "But I'd like to know now what you found, so I know what I'll be working on tomorrow."

"Are you sure you're awake enough to remember?"

"Yes. I may fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but I always remember what was said and done prior to dat."

"Well, a program I wrote for the IR server, to block people using computers on it from connecting to non-IR sites or mailboxes has deteriorated. I haven't gotten as far as figuring out why. That will be your first task, and finding out how to correct it, your next."

"Do you have de specs on de original program?"


"I'll need to look at dem, as well as de printouts of de diagnostics."

"I'll have them for you when you're ready to start work tomorrow." He stopped in front of a door. "Here we are," he said. He punched in a code on the panel, and then pressed another button. "Go ahead and enter your own code. She did so, and then followed him inside as he put the suitcase on a luggage rack. He turned back to her and pointed to a door. "That's your private bathroom. The closet is to the right of it. I'll leave you now, and I'll return to escort you back to the main house at 8 tomorrow morning."

"Tank you again, Brains," she said gratefully. "I'll be ready. Good night."

"Good night, Mrs. Matumbo. Sleep well." He turned and left, closing the door behind him.

Lena opened her suitcase and got out her nightwear. She went into the bathroom and performed her nighttime ablutions and got out of her clothes, folding them and putting them on top of her suitcase. I'll unpack in de morning, she thought as she put on her nightwear, then slid into bed. That was her last thought. She turned the light out and was instantly asleep.

Post by Hobbeth on 28/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #674 is a reply to message #673] Tue, 24 July 2012 18:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Wednesday, March 7, 2068, 7:30 a.m., the Villa, Tracy Island.

Tin-Tin yawned and ran her fingers back through her thick black hair, pushing it out of her eyes. She stretched as the door between her bedroom and her sitting room opened with a swishing sound. Her alarm usually woke her at seven, but last night she just fell into bed after the debriefing and forgot the alarm.

But something different prodded her out of bed this morning. Some small noise from her sitting room had penetrated her sleeping mind and teased her awake.

Blearily, she made her way over to her computer, which was chiming for attention. I forgot to shut it down last night, she realized. And now it's telling me I have mail.

She sat back in her ergonomically correct desk chair and scrolled idly down through the email messages that had been deposited in her email in-box. One in particular caught her eye, a priority email from a manufacturer in Kabul. Opening it, she scanned the message and groaned.

They're having trouble with the Penelon-Kevlar formula and want me to go out and work with them to try and figure out where in the manufacturing process things are going wrong. She sighed and pulled up her personal schedule. Well, if I'm not needed for a rescue, I suppose I could fly out tomorrow. I'll have to clear it through Brains and Virgil. Or maybe Scott if he's home yet. I don't know that Mr. Tracy would need to be bothered about it. Not yet. Only if we can't get the stuff manufactured properly. In the meantime, I'd better send the new specs and the new design to our usual uniform providers. They'll do everything but the logos, which we'll put on right here, Mrs. Tracy and I. Wonder if anyone else among our new recruits sews?

Tin-Tin got up and headed for her bathroom. I'd better check and see if the auxiliary clothing has been ordered yet; the thermals, the fire protective gear, the new space suits for Callie... there's so much to think about above and beyond just the uniforms! Usually Dianne takes care of that, but with Mr. Tracy in the hospital... I'll just do a quick follow-up. After all, I have the measurements.

With that settled in her head, she slipped out of her nightgown and stepped into the shower, hoping to wash the cobwebs from her mind as she washed the sweat and dirt from her body.

Post by Tikatu on 30/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #675 is a reply to message #674] Tue, 24 July 2012 18:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island: Wednesday, March 7th; 8AM

Lena had been up for some time when Brains arrived to take her to breakfast. She'd showered, dressed, made her bed and unpacked by then. There was a chime, signaling someone was at the door, and she went over and tapped the panel alongside it to open the door.

"Good morning, Mrs. Matumbo. I hope you slept well," he greeted her, smiling.

"Good morning, Brains. Tank you, yes. And please call me Lena, since I'm calling you Brains."

"All right - Lena. Now, shall we go have some breakfast before we get down to work?"

She grinned at him. "I tought you'd never ask. I'm famished."

He laughed and they headed to the villa. When they arrived, Lisa was fixing breakfast, and there were a few people at the table. Brains introduced Lena to them and they all greeted her with smiles, but since their mouths were full, said nothing. Lisa told her to sit down, and her breakfast would be ready in just a few moments. "I hope you like pancakes."

"I love dem," Lena replied, "and orange juice, please, if you have it."

"Of course. Coffee?"

"I prefer tea, if dat's not too inconvenient."

"Not at all." Lisa bustled about, and soon Lena was eating a very satisfying meal. She chatted with Brains and the others, telling them all to call her Lena, but did not waste time, as she wanted to get to work on the reason she came to this place. She sipped the last of her tea as Brains finished his breakfast, then they excused themselves and headed to his office.

They headed to an elevator that, to Lena's surprise, took them not to his laboratory - where he told her his office was - but to a monorail. "This will take us to my lab. It's the fastest and easiest way to get there." They got in and headed out.

"I'm impressed," Lena said. "Dis is certainly a big place. It would take a multibillionaire to create and maintain it." Then she lapsed into silence as she watched through the windows until they arrived at their destination.

When they walked in, he said, "Lena, I've set up a workspace over here for you." He handed her a card. "Here's a list of sites you might need to use, and temporary passwords to get into them. This computer is not connected to the IR server, so if you want to access your personal or work mailboxes, you may do so."

He then indicated a pile of papers. The printouts of the diagnostics are here, along with one of the original program, as you requested. Is there anything else you need?"

She walked over and sat down, putting her bag - which she had brought with her when she left her room - on the floor under the kneehole of the desk. She replied, "I believe I have everyting I need, for now. Why don't you show me what you found when you compared dese diagnostics? Den, I'll try to figure out why it happened."

Brains pulled a chair up to her desk and took one of the printouts. He had her open the other and indicated to her the places that showed him where the computers linked. He found her to be a quick study - which he expected - and left her alone to look over the original programming specs, while he worked on another project. About an hour later, Tin-Tin walked in and went over to her workstation. They worked in companionable silence until Lena finally sat back and sighed.

"Brains, I tink I've found de reason for de deterioration."

He jumped up and went over to Lena. "Where?"

She explained, pointing out the place in the specs that she felt caused the problem. "You put a limit on de treshhold number of 'hits' on de block, and it was reached, even exceeded. Why did you do dat?" she asked quietly.

"At the time, the best program I could come up with in the time I had required a specific number. I put the highest number allowed. I didn't think it would ever be reached."

"Well, it was. So what we have to do is to alter de program to allow an unlimited number of hits. Too bad we can't alter a program on de person - or people - who kept trying de most." She had a mischievous look in her eyes, as she pointed to the code indicating where the most hits had occurred.

"Oh, no! How am I ever going to tell Mr. Tracy?"

"I'll tell him, if you like," she replied, chuckling. "I have less to lose dan you do, should he not take de news too well."

He laughed with her. "I may just take you up on that offer. So, the next step is to alter the program to allow unlimited hits on it. And then repair the glitch, to stop emails from going anywhere but to whom they are addressed."

"I tink I know how to do bote tings, but it's going to take time. And right now I need a short break. Where can I go to, um, go?"

"I can show you, Lena," Tin-Tin answered, turning to face them. "I need a break, too."

"Tank you, Tin-Tin," Lena replied, and the two women left the room.

Post by Hobbeth on 30/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #676 is a reply to message #675] Tue, 24 July 2012 18:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tracy Island, Wednesday, 7th March, 8.30 am

Virgil came down to breakfast wearing grubby clothes, looking like he was ready to work. He was introduced to Mrs. Matumbo, or Lena, as she insisted on being called, and then sat down to eat the pancakes that Lisa had prepared. He looked across at Kat, who was already finishing up her meal.

"Kat, a winch on Thunderbird Two failed during the rescue."

"I know. I heard all about it." Her eyes widened. "Do... do you want me to replace it for you?"

Virgil nodded. "I certainly could use your help. I suggest we get started right after breakfast."

"Okay Virgil, just let me go and put my overalls on," Kat said. "Shall I meet you in TB2's hangar? Or do you want me to return here, in case you want to fill me in on what is required?"

"I'll meet you in Thunderbird Two's cockpit, Kat. You can come back up here and use my entrance if you like," Virgil said with a twinkle in his eye. "Or you can take the passenger elevator next to the monorail lift. Whichever you prefer."

Kat smiled at him. "Ooh! I want to use your entrance please."

"Okay, Kat," Virgil replied. "But let's eat breakfast first, shall we?"

Kat scarfed down her breakfast, hardly tasting the delicious pancakes. Then she hurried back to her apartment. She felt totally excited at the prospect of working on the Thunderbirds themselves. She changed into her overalls, all fingers and thumbs in her excitement. Slow down, she told herself. More haste, less speed.

In the meanwhile, Virgil had finished his coffee and sauntered upstairs, using his special entrance to make it down to Thunderbird Two before Kat did. He looked around and frowned. Have to find some way to get in and out of here on the ground level without having to move the chassis up and down over the pod all the time.

Virgil toggled a switch, and watched the pods move to their farthest extent into the bay, leaving nothing below the chassis but air. There. Once Kat gets here, we can go in and out through the lower entrance.

Hurrying back to the lounge Kat stood in front of the picture and was instantly tipped back and began the descent into Thunderbird 2's cockpit.

Kat was experiencing the thrill of her life lying on the flat surface of the conveyor as she descended to Thunderbird 2's cockpit. Finally she arrived, sliding into Virgil's chair. "Boy, that was some entrance!" she said breathlessly.

Virgil looked at her. "Yes, it sure is a good way to get here."

Kat looked around her; the controls seemed very complicated. She knew that she would never be able to fly this machine, not that she would ever be asked to. "Right. What now, Virgil?" she asked.

"Right now, I'm going to lower the chassis to the floor so we can get in and out of her easily for parts and tools," Virgil said, flipping the switch that did just that. Kat swayed a bit but kept her footing as Thunderbird Two descended smoothly to the floor.

"Then we'll go down to the lower level and I'll show you where the winch motor is. We'll probably have to look into stores to see if we have a replacement," he continued. "C'mon. I'll show you the way and give you a little tour while we're at it."

Kat followed Virgil out through the back of the cockpit and listened intently as he pointed out the various cabins and doors to her. "This is crews' quarters over here on the left, and this is the lab on the right. We used to store hoverbikes here, but we moved the lab into this space to make room for a small sickbay."

"That's the doorway to the inspection catwalk in each pod," he said, indicating a wide door at the back wall of the chassis. "And in here we have the lift that goes down to the lower level. You can see why we wanted sickbay downstairs; the lift barely holds two, never mind two and a stretcher."

He pointed out something she wouldn't have noticed. "This lift turns so that you can exit either inside or outside. The outside door usually connects with the pod itself, but today we'll just use it to get out to the hangar. On the inside, it opens up on this triage room." He guided her down a short passage.

"On the right we store our extra clothes and equipment like radiation suits and such." They took a right hand turn and he opened a door to the left. This brought them into the winch room. "The passenger elevator comes directly down here, too," Virgil told her.

Kat was amazed at everything Virgil pointed out to her. She was trying to memorise the way they had come and everything that he had shown her. She looked around the winch room. "I hope there is a spare engine, Virgil," she said. "Otherwise, it's going to be an enormous job to repair the motor. The damage looks bad. It looks as though someone has given it a mighty thump."

Virgil chuckled. "Christopher did say he'd thumped it. Let's see about getting the serial numbers off of this baby and we'll have Scott use the computer to track down the part for us."

Kat looked on as Virgil got under the engine to take a note of the serial numbers. "So I suppose that was how Christopher managed to make it work?" Kat asked. "Do you want me to contact Scott with the number?"

"Yes, please," Virgil replied.

Kat spoke into her telecomm. "Hi, Scott. This is Kat. Virgil and I are in the winch room. These are the serial numbers; can you check on the computer to track down the right parts for us? The Spool should be replaced and possibly the cable as well."

"Okay, Kat, will let you know," Scott answered.

Within a few moments, Scott's face and voice came back in Kat's telecomm. "We're in luck. The parts you need are in storage bin 552, 553, and 568, respectively. Virgil knows where that is."

Kat relayed this information back to Virgil.

"Right, then, Kat, follow me." He led her out of the Thunderbird into the hangar itself. "These are the storage bins," he told her, pointing to several large bins, each one numbered. "Every piece of equipment we use is stored here, from the largest motor parts down to the smallest nails and screws. Now I think that 552 and 553 are over in that corner and 568 are on the other side. Could you go and look into 568 and find the cable and bring it back to the winch room."

"FAB," grinned Kat as she hurried over to the bin he was pointing to. She managed to bring out the heavy cable and staggered back to the winch room with it. Virgil joined her with the other articles of equipment needed. "Now we start to work on the engine," he said. "We'll need a ladder for each of us because of where the motor is situated. Wait here and I'll get what we need."

Between the two of them, they took down the old winch motor and spool, filled with the cable. It was heavy, and Virgil was afraid that Kat couldn't handle it, though he said nothing. As a result, he was amazed at the young mechanic's ability to move around the heavy pieces of equipment. They worked in companionable silence for a while, and then Virgil asked, "What would you choose for a code name?"

Kat wiped a stray strand of hair away from her eyes, and thus deposited a streak of grease across her cheek. "Well, I believe that mechanics are called 'grease monkeys'. As I am so small, I thought I could be known as 'mini grease monkey', and because that is such a mouthful to say, I would abbreviate it to the initials 'MGM'. What would you use as a code name?"

"I don't know. Maybe something to do with one of my hobbies, like Piano Man or some artist or something," Virgil said as he tightened a bolt with a grunt. He glanced over at her. "Any suggestions?"

"Oh, there are so many artists!" she said. "I don't even know what kind of art it is that you do."

"Painting, mostly, in lots of different styles and media." He shrugged. "I'll keep thinking about it."

Kat nodded, and continued her work.

"Could you just lift that wire for me?" Virgil asked, "I think that we are almost able to refit the engine." Kat did as she was told.

"To be honest, Virgil," she said, "using those initials as code names really made me laugh. It was so funny calling Gordon, 'Gee', and Alan, 'Aye'. There could be some really funny combinations when you are all working together."

"Yes, I know," replied Virgil, "and I don't think the middle names were much better. Here, we've almost got it." The two of them put as much pressure into pushing the motor to the ceiling as they could and then tightened down the bolts. Virgil handed her a power tool. "Here, we can get the bolts even tighter with this."

Kat took it from him and began to use it. Virgil watched out of the corner of his eye and was pleased to see her familiarity with the tool and its uses. He lifted up the spool.

"You know," Virgil said, "from watching you, I can see what a good mechanic you are."

Kat smiled at him. "Thanks for the compliment. Now just how high does this spool have to fit?"

"Here, we'll attach the spool to the motor," Virgil said, showing her where the two fitted together. With the power tool Kat had on her, the installation only took a minute or two.

"Now, we'll wire the motor into the controls and test it," Virgil explained. Together they began wiring in the motor.

"Do you want me to stay here while you return to the cockpit, Virgil, and test the motor to check whether everything is okay now?" Kat asked.

"Why don't you try the controls down here first, while I scoot up to the cockpit? Then after we've tested both sets of controls, we can hook up the cable and see how it does and if the spool is on right," Virgil suggested.

"Okay, Virgil," Kat replied. She looked at the controls; they didn't seem very complicated. Tentatively she switched on and with a whirring sound the motor began move. "Virgil?" she said into her telecomm.


"It's working perfectly here."

"Okay. I'll try my controls now." Kat stood back and watched as the motor came on as if by magic.

"Looks good, Virgil!"

"Great! I'm coming back down."

Before Virgil returned, Kat thought that they had worked together very well, and she was pleased that Lady Penelope had insisted on all the extra tuition. Finally, Virgil rejoined her in the winch room.

"Now for the real test. Can you help me hook up the cable?"

Kat dragged the cable and between them they managed to hook it over the spool. Once the cable was fastened around the spool, Virgil started the engine. Slowly, slowly, the spool began to wind, winding the cable up onto the winch.

"Looks like success!" Virgil exclaimed.

Kat agreed. "A definite success, Virgil," she said.

Virgil glanced over at Kat, and grinned. "You sure do get into your work, don't you, MGM?" He indicated the smears of oil on her face and the grease on her overalls.

Kat laughed. "I simply can't seem to keep clean when I am working, no matter how hard I try," and she added, "Van Gogh. Anyway, you are not so clean yourself."

Virgil looked at her. "Seriously though, thank you for helping. It was a job worth doing and you were a great assistant."

Kat coloured slightly. "Thanks, Virgil."

Virgil glanced at his watch. "Hmm. Looks like we've nearly worked the morning away. Lunch will be served soon. Why don't you go ahead and get changed and head topside? I've got some more work to do in getting Thunderbird Two ready for the next rescue."

Kat wiped her hands on some rags lying around and said goodbye to Virgil, who was already heading for the cockpit. She headed out of the hangar and made for her apartment. She thought about what she had just done. It was so reassuring to know that although she was not taking part in rescues, she would be needed when the Thunderbird crafts came home. And who knew? Maybe she would be doing more to help Virgil and the others, given time.

She had a long leisurely shower and headed for the dining room and joined her friends for lunch. They all wanted to know how the work had gone. "I will tell you later," Kat told them.

Post by Tawnyangel22 and Tikatu on 30/08/2004

Jeff heartbeat Dianne plain My IR:TNP OTP!
Re: Learning The Ropes [message #678 is a reply to message #676] Tue, 24 July 2012 19:08 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
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Field Commander
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Tracy Island Wednesday 7th March Morning

Christopher came out of the shower, having washed the stresses and strains out of his bones. He pulled on his clothes, then got down on the floor to peer under the bed.

"Mrrroaaaow!!!" an angry paw flashed in front of him.

"Asterix!" Christopher admonished the little cat. "How many times do I have to say I'm sorry"

Asterix just looked at Christopher with bright, angry green eyes.

"Fine." Christopher got to his feet and immediately felt sorry for his poor cat. "I'll go and get you some chicken, okay?"

"Mrroww?" Asterix peered out from under the bed.

"I'll be back soon." He kneeled down and ruffled Asterix's head. "I missed you."

Post by TheWrongTouser on 31/08/2004

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